It is said there are two categories of computer users; those who have never lost any data and those who back up their files regularly. Think about that for a second before you read on.
If you fall into the first category, you are very lucky. It's not really a question of if you will lose data but when it will happen. Perhaps your data isn't important enough. All those treasured pictures you have stored; the reams of correspondence and other paperwork; the emails you have going back years; the settings and history of a game you have been playing forever, they are all just sitting there and will be there forever, right? The fact is, anything can happen at any time. Your hard disk could suddenly fail without warning; sadly, you could be a victim of a burglary or maybe suffer a disastrous fire.
The fact is, there is absolutely no substitute for a good disaster recovery plan.
This article will take a little while for you to read and make some decisions, additionally installing and configuring the software will also take a little time but the peace of mind you will have from knowing your data is safe is worth the effort but it's your data and if your data isn't important to you then feel free to continue on as you are.
True system image backup and restore functionality is no longer part of the Windows operating system so we recommend you either obtain and install a reliable backup software package or subscribe to a reputable online backup service.
There are plenty of software packages available, and some are even free but the package we always recommend is Acronis True Image. Using this software, you can backup your computer so in the event of a complete disaster, a restore operation can be completed in just a few clicks and it can keep multiple versions of the backups so you can go back in time to files or folders deleted long ago. Also included are ransomware blocker and a disk cloning tool so should you want to replace a failing hard disk or replace an existing hard disk with a larger or faster one you can do so quickly and simply without having to reinstall the operating system and all your programs and settings. Note you have to purchase a licence for each computer you are installing it on.
Acronis True Image has two basic offerings; Subscription and Perpetual.
If you are running the perpetual licenced version there is one other thing you need to think about, where to store your backups. You should definitely store your backups on an external hard drive, network attached storage or a networked computer etc. to protect against disk failure on the protected computer. Also, you should purchase an additional external hard drive to keep backups outside your premises to protect against fire, burglary etc. By having two external hard drives and rotating them periodically you will be protecting your data to best effect at minimal cost.
Once all that is done, you should check you backups regularly. In an ideal world, that would mean actually running a full restore onto a blank hard drive to ensure that the backup is valid however that is probably out of the question for most users. At the very least you should check the backup to ensure you can restore files and folders. Do this by restoring to an alternative location, not the original location then open the files to check they have been restored intact.
There are many online backup services available. In addition to Acronis True Image mentioned above, services such as IDrive, Carbonite, SOS Online Backup, Backblaze to name but a few. We will stick with Acronis True Image as our recommendation for its ease of use, superior support and affordability but each of the services mentioned offers comprehensive features.
If you haven't got backup software installed and are not confident installing and configuring it or you have any other problems with your computer, you can always contact us for details of our support services.