To ‘back up’ is not a strange phrase in computer circles, it simply means keeping files somewhere outside your computer system – either for security or safety reasons. And you must be able to retrieve such files when necessary.
In a previous post we advised to always back up as an insurance against loss or crash of your PC – which would definitely happen at any time. In this post I’d be showing ways of really backing up your files.
The internet has one way or the other contributed to the explosion of data, which in turn have created an unquenchable demand for storage. And many internet companies have risen up to the challenge by providing cloud storage services. Where customer files are stored on a remote server somewhere, which can be accessed at any time through the internet. Common among them are Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox etc. They offer free storage of 5 to 10 GB, and premium payment option to expand your storage beyond this. Though it is the most expensive among all, it is the safest because you’re sure your files would always be protected. And these prominent companies most times also have backup copies of your files. A form of cloud storage that is mostly overlooked by many is the email , it can be used to store files (Document, music, photos etc). For instance Google’s gmail offers about 15GB of free storage. If you’re like me you could reserve about 1GB for email and use the remaining 14GB for file storage. The major con of this method is that, in a country like Nigeria where internet cost is high and expensive, many people would not want to try to use these cloud storage platforms even if they are free. And what can be done when one find himself in a place with little or no internet connection? Files cannot be accessed.
CD-RW and DVD drives
This is a readily available option of storing files and the cheapest among all the back up methods, because of the cost of getting a CD or DVD (about 50 to 100 naira per plate depending on the brand). It is suitable for for personal home use or a small business. Files stored on a CD can be accessed just like in a hard disk when it is created as a data CD. A CD plate can hold up to 700MB of data, and this is where it differs from a DVD that can hold up to 4.7GB per plate. The downside is that larger amount of files would have to be split into multiple CD plates which might become less portable to move around. And also they can easily be damaged, which could render files stored on them unreadable or unrecoverable.
Back Up Application or Software
Different types of backup applications are available in Linux distros. The backup application is used to store your system files, by creating a backup file. Then the backup file created can either be stored externally or internally inside your PC (if there is enough disk space of course).
In Ubuntu Linux it looks like this;
Locate the ‘Backup’ application >>.
Launch it to see the various backup options. First of all switch it on by using the button at the top-right-hand corner of the window.
Select what to save.
Select the storage Location.
Select how often you want to be backing up.
Then you’re done. This application would be doing the backup automatically from now on. On event of losing your files they can be restored from the system backup file created earlier with the application.
External Hard Drives
Basically any device that can store data can be used to backup files. Eternal hard drives (HDD) are among such devices. They are becoming the popular and the de facto device for backup this days. One reason is because they have become less expensive for the average computer user. And it is suitable for every computer user ranging from a single user to a large business organization. Like five to six years ago external HDD were bought already packaged from the manufacturers, but today there is a proliferation of locally assembled and packaged external HDD by computer repair technicians/engineers. This has also resulted in the reduction of it’s price. The amount of data (files) yous want to backup would determine the size of the HDD to buy. Gong for a 250GB or 500GB HDD would be a good way to start.
Thumb Drives or Memory Cards
These devices function in the same way as the external hard disk/drive. The major difference is that only relatively smaller amount of files could be stored at a time because of their memory sizes. Size range from as low as as 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32GB – though there are few brands that have gone above this. They are very cheap to get especially for these that cant afford an external HDD. You could get a thumb drive for 1000 naira or less depending on the brand and your bargaining power. They would be okay if you plan on backing up a some personal photos and documents. They are also highly portable.
…Don’t learn the hard way!…
If you know of any other backup method please feel free to share in the comment section below.