How would you feel if you lost your precious photos, thesis or work documents?

A backup, or the process of backing up, refers to the copying and archiving of computer data so it may be used to restore the original after a data loss event. (

Make sure you back up regularly – you can back some devices up onto your computer, use external hard drives, USB’s or SD cards or even email files to yourself. It is possible to schedule regular backups so they take place even if you forget.

Data backup is a simple, three step process:

  • Make copies of your data
  • Select the hardware or method to store your data
  • Safely store the backup device that holds your copied files
Make Copies of Your Data

Many computers come with a backup software program installed, so check to see if you have one. Most backup software programs will allow you to make copies of every file and program on your computer, or just the files you’ve changed since your last backup.

Select Hardware to Store Your Data

When you conduct a backup, the files will have to be stored on a physical device – such as CDs, DVDs, or USB flash drives, an external hard drive, or on the web using cloud-based online storage.

  • CDs, DVDs, and flash drives: These are best for storing a small amount of pictures, music, and videos.
  • External hard drive: If your computer serves as the family photo album and music library, it’s best to get an external hard drive that plugs into your computer (preferably via a USB port).  This way, you can assure more adequate storage space for all your files. Copying information will also be faster with these devices.
  • Online backup services: these can be useful but you have to consider how much you trust  the  service provider – see also The Cloud
Safely Store the Backup Device that Holds Your Data

After setting up the software and copying your files on a regular basis, make sure you keep your backup device somewhere safe.  Some ideas include a trusted neighbor’s house, your workplace, a safe, or a secure place at home that would likely survive a natural disaster. Keep your backup device close enough so that you can retrieve it easily when you do your regular backup.

Other software programs are available if your system does not have a backup program or if you’re seeking other features. Ideally, you should backup your files at least once a week.

And to make the process more fun, do your backups on a Friday while checking out the amazing #FridayDiscoBackup on Twitter for some great music…

(some info adapted from