5 Tips for Effectively Backing Up Your Hard Drive

If you are not backing up your computer's hard drive, then you should be – and the statistics say so. Eight percent of hard drives fail at some point or another, and you could easily be that one out of twelve. Most likely (and this is my experience), that hard drive failure will occur right when you need your computer the most – like when you have an important deadline to meet for work, or during finals week at school. Trust me, it's no fun having to compensate for the time and work lost when you lose your hard drive – not to mention the money. You can save yourself from this nightmare by simply backing up your data, and you might be surprised to find just how easy it is. Here are five tips for effectively backing up your hard drive:

Choose your backup device. You may opt to use either an external hard drive, or a flash drive. These days, flash drives come with so much memory for so little money, and are so easy to use, that they are probably your best bet.

Decide how much memory you need. If you look at your computer's memory storage, you will know how much memory your flash drive (or external hard drive) needs to hold. This is relatively simple to do. For a Windows PC, simply right-click on the drive you which to back up (in the Windows menu), then choose Properties to find out how much memory the drive is taking up. For a Mac, click the hard disk icon, then (Command + i) to get the information you need.

Choose your data. As the old saying goes, better safe than sorry. I say back everything up, even if you are not sure how important it is to you. I once spent an entire afternoon searching my computer for a short story I'd written several months earlier, only to remember that I hadn't backed up that folder before my hard drive crashed.

File backups versus mirror backups. A file backup is just as it sounds – it only backs up files. A mirror backup will cover not only your files, but also your entire operating system as well as any programs you choose. A mirror backup can save you a lot of time if your hard drive does crash, as one simple reinstall can have you up and running in a matter of minutes.

Choose a backup software. One of the best ways to choose a great backup software for your particular computer and operating system is to serve online for program reviews.

There you have it, a simple breakdown of hard drive backup basics. This should get you well on your way to protecting one of the most valuable assets you have: all of the data and hard work you have stored on your computer.

About the Author: Russell Ruark is a computer specialist who constantly does Mac data recovery and harddrive repair for those who forgot to make a backup. He recommends getting an external hard drive and making a copy at least once per month.