We keep a lot of important information on our computers. At any time you might have tax returns, other financial information, your calendar, pictures, movies, music, all of your homework for the past four years, and anything else you might consider important in your digital life … all stored on a large hard disk drive that is spinning at 5400 rotations-per-minute inside of a 2.5″ metal box.
This all means that at any given moment, that hard drive is going to fail and it is going to be one sad day. While data recovery can many times retrieve some information off of a failed hard drive, that can be an expensive operation and you never know if everything you wanted will be retrievable.
The best defense against hard drive failure is to backup your data in multiple ways. No matter the manufacturer or operating system, there are a number of ways to keep multiple copies of your data around so that if disaster would strike, you will still have access to everything.
Here is a list of some options to backup your data. Remember, it is a good to have two copies of your data, but it is even better to have three or more.
- Time Machine (Mac; local)
- CrashPlan (Windows, Mac, Linux; local and online)
- Backblaze (Windows, Mac; online)
- SuperDuper! (Mac; local)
- Carbon Copy Cloner (Mac; local)
There are, of course, many more out there but these are a few to look at. Some are paid, some are free, but all of them will backup your files so that if you lose your hard drive, you will still have all of your data.
What About Tablets/Smart Phones?
This is where it can get a little trickier. Depending on your device, the manufacturer might have a utility to create backups of your phone or tablet (iTunes handles that for Apple’s iOS devices).
Many times you have the device attached to an online account (like your Google Account for Android devices, iCloud account for an iOS device, or your Live account for Windows Phone) and some of the information is stored there. You will need to check with your device manufacturer for more information on restore options for the devices that you own.
The hard drive inside of your computer is more-than-likely going to die at some point, the only way to make that less of a problem is to backup your data somewhere else. The best time to do that was yesterday, but now is better than never.
Please backup your data today.