Why it is important to backup your files
Hi everyone, its been a while since my last post but just recently I had to backup my files because I was doing a system upgrade – just a precaution for in case anything went wrong. I kept putting off the task of doing the system upgrade because I was too lazy to backup my files.
I am writing this article knowing that you already have some idea why is it important to backup your files. Even though the importance of backing up our files never really registers for most of us until were smack in the middle of staring at a blank computer screen despite how many times, how hard and how long we’ve been pressing the power button.
Hahah! Funny how sometimes when our computers are having problems starting up, we think that the success of booting up our computers is directly proportional to the force we apply on the power button when we’re trying to switch on our computers.
That aside, here I’m only just trying to re-enforce the idea you already have about how occasional (if not regular) file backups are important, and discuss a few minute but advisable tools we can use to help us do just that.
Starting all over again.
Picture this scenario: You’ve been issued a school laptop by your school the first year of studies for a four year long program. From day one you hear ICT telling you “…backup”, “backup … “, “Backup”.
You attend classes and since the course materials are all provided online on a CMS (content management system) portal, you begin downloading course material, completing and submitting assignments via the portal.Your Documents directory is growing every download.
Weeks go by, then months, and all of a sudden you realize you’ve just completed your second year of studies and you’re back for the third. At this point in time, you can imagine how much your laptop means to you: with all your course material and projects, and protfolio of work.
You’re lecturer walks into the room on a Monday morning, the first lecture of you third year and you take your laptop out of your bag and switch it on…nothing.
You try to switch it on again…this time pressing the button harder….still…nothing. The first thing you hear in your head is the lady’s voice from the ICT department, two years ago. ” You have to be sure to backup your files regularly.”, “Its really important that you backup your files.”
This is not just a story created outta thin air, it actually did happen to a friend of mine. There are so many other ways that you can lose your data. Maybe during an operating system upgrade gone wrong, a bad system scan or malware like viruses or trojans to name a few.
So this is the main reason backing up our files regularly is important. These things always seem to happen when we least expect them to.
So what are some of these tools?
Well there are actually so many, since regular data backups is quite an important practice, not only for individual users, but organizations and businesses who are responsible for providing uninterrupted quality of; and accessibility to; services for people who rely on them.
However, that’s considering the enterprise solutions to data backup and security etc. which is way beyond the scope of this discussion.
Some of the tools I’ve used myself and have seen others use to backup files are:
- Hard Drives
- Flash Drives (which I wouldn’t seriously recommend)
- Cloud storage areas
Why not a Flash Drive?
Here is a case that I’ve observed:
My parents. They are awesome people who are both high school teachers. Super talented; very musical and artistic. Very very practical people.
Great with kids and in their late 40’s, all of which usually inadvertently kinda means they’re not so great with computers and all that ‘tech hype’. (I’m being stereotypical only to draw you a picture).
My parents own the highest number of flash drives in the house and will still ask for me for a hard drive or a flash drive when they want to do backup copies of files or transfer files.
“Why?” you ask me, this is because they’re never usually able to locate their own flash drives at those moments. It’s hilarious! But the struggle is there and Its REAL.
Flash drives are ideal to use for transferring files and for temporary file storage but I wouldn’t recommend them as ideal for backups because;
1. They are small in size and are super ideal for losing and finding a hard time locating.
2. They are also usually only able to cater for small sizes of data at once.
You could always purchase a flash drive with a higher memory capacity but then you will still be left with problem number one.
So what then?
Alternatives to flash drives are external hard drives and cloud storage. External drives are similar to your flash drives except they are generally bigger (physically) so there is definitely much less of a chance you’d leave it somewhere you could forget altogether.
Hard drives are also great because they now support sizes in Terabytes. That’s pretty big, you could backup so much data on the hard drive and still have space for more!
Cloud storage is a great way to backup your files. You will not need to carry around with you any physical device. For as long as you can access the internet with your phone or your laptop, your files will be readily available to you.
I have been using Googles Google drive that comes with the email address. Its only 15GB (you can always upgrade that) But I’ve only been backing up the ‘crucial’ files like my CV, and school work. So there’s not much of a need for me to upgrade.
There are other could storage options like Dropbox and OneDrive to mention a few but whichever cloud storage option you choose, it will be sure to keep you covered so you won’t have to ‘start all over again’ should you face any problems with your computer that leads to data loss.
It’s Really That Simple!
So we know that its important that we backup our files every now and then to avoid the complete loss of our files in the event of a hard drive failure or any issues with our computers that result in data loss.
Flash drives work but aren’t as reliable as external hard drives. If we want to avoid having to carry around devices all the time cloud storage is the best alternative we have. There is also no harm in using more than one of these methods to backup your files.
The real problem though is that, we tend to shrug off reminders to backup our files until either; we forget completely or it becomes too late.
Remember: To avoid a computer strike, Treat your computer right!