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A guide to external hard drive backup

If you have a computer, you have files. If you have files, they need backing up. It is really that simple. There is nothing worse than turning on your computer to find the "blue screen of death" or the "spinning rainbow wheel." With a backup process in place, it makes recovering from a dead computer almost easy. This article is a guide to external hard drive backup.

Why backup your files

If you have ever laboured over a term paper or created that perfect photo design, you know how important it is to save your work along the way. Think of backing up your files as saving all of your work as you go. There is no worse feeling than realising that you have lost your entire photo library or all of your personal files that you've created over the years. Spending just a little time to establish a backup procedure will save you days, if not weeks of time rebuilding all that you have lost.

Choosing the right backup device

When you go to shop for backup devices, you need to consider how large of an external backup you want. A good rule of thumb is to buy a drive that is at least, five times the size of your hard drive. In this way, you have plenty of room on the backup drive to store a couple of versions of your files. If a particular file becomes corrupt, you may need to go back for two or three versions before you find a good file.

Backup frequency

Choosing how frequently to backup your computer is relatively easy. If you do regular work on your computer and make significant changes on a daily basis, then a nightly or daily backup would be a good choice. However, if you only work on your computer and don't add many new photos to your library very often, a weekly backup should be sufficient.

How to backup files

There are automated backups that you can set to run every night after you've gone to bed. These are ideal for the user who may forget to backup manually and wants a more hands-off approach. You set the backup at one time, selecting the files and folders that you want to be backed up. Alternatively, if you only have a couple of files to backup, you could rather do it yourself instead of relying on an automated process. You can simply drag and drop your files to your external device. The act of copying files to external devices is creating a backup of those files. Store your backed-up files in folders named by date so that you know when they were backed up.

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