One surefire way to ruin a day is to find that your laptop/computer has been compromised. The culprit could be an accidental spill, drop, or even a virus, but all of a sudden your life is gone. All emails, pictures, jokes, projects, and bookmarks that make your life easy—Gone! In order to be ready for this crisis, it is necessary to make backups of the information you love and cherish. Here are a few ways to make sure all is not lost.
The most effective backup method is via cloud service, which protects your information in cyberspace. Another more traditional method is through a restore function within your computer or a hard copy backup of all your files. The reason the cloud services are more effective is that they update often without any work on your part. This type of backup is more inclusive. The likelihood of having different components backed up, such as photos, music, bookmarks, saved emails, and files is significantly higher. It simply provides the most up-to-date info accessible through an internet connection. You can also be selective of what you want to backup. For example, you could opt to never have temporary internet files backed up. This may be a good thing if your source of the crash was a virus downloaded via an internet app or email.
A major drawback to this type of backup is that cloud drives can be susceptible to hacking. The data is stored in cyberspace, where it may be at risk. This is something that needs to be researched with any cloud service. Each company has a security protocol, and it would be wise to find out if that company has ever been hacked or how it is rated among all the other cloud services out there. Like every industry, there are always good ones and then better ones.
Most operating systems now have a “time machine” function where you can restore your computer to an earlier date. When you shut down each day, your computer saves all the programs and updates through that date. Being able to go back to a prior date might allow you to work around a suspicious file that has been downloaded that may be a virus or some other malware. This also is the simplest way to restore all your information. Internal backup systems on both Windows and Mac operating systems have become much more user-friendly over the years.
The downside of this is that other files may not be saved. Peripheral data obtained via the internet or files downloaded after the restore date may no longer be accessible. This could be very frustrating if, for instance, you collected many diverse sources for a project and then had your computer crash. Some of the research or even the breadcrumbs that may have led you to sources may not be readily apparent, and you risk having to reinvent the wheel.
Investing in an external drive to store major files may be a good idea. This is sort of an old-school but comfortable way to have privacy and protection. This is what most people have seen IT departments use to restore computer function in the past. There are many who trust this alternative more than any other. It is user-dependent, since what is saved is what you consciously backed up. It has known parameters without external factors (relying on software or security) to protect your information.
The downfall is that if you have not backed up information recently, you might lose necessary or vital information and programs accessed since your last backup. This is the biggest problem with this sort of backup—it takes diligence to remember to backup information. It is common for people to forget to backup or save their work, and that human flaw can make your life harder if you depend on this method.
4. CD Backup
This is a more primitive method of system restore. Burning the inventory to a CD will, of course, provide you access to those files up until the date of it being burned; however, you have multiple discs to contend with as well as errors in burning that you may not have caught at the time you backed up those files. It may be unreliable to a degree. This sort of safety net allows for a great deal of issues, such as having incomplete copies of programs, glitches within the burning process, disk defectiveness, and human error. These all could be factors in making your day much more complicated.
The most basic of backups of only prominent files to a thumbdrive is the most limited form of backup. Thumbdrives have relatively limited space and thus can not store much data. However, this is a very easy way to save information that came be taken anywhere at any time. You can take your entire desktop on vacation via a thumbdrive. The only drawback is the space capacity of the drive itself.
Using one or varying combinations of these sorts of backup methods will help to save you time and frustration when your computer crashes. It is better to be prepared, despite the cost of and amount of thought and energy needed to make such alternatives viable or more practical for the amount of information, the level of security, and the accessibility that you personally feel comfortable with. Each of these ways provides the basic remedy for the problem of a computer that has crashed. It comes down to personal choice, preference, and comfort. Which way works for you?