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What is a Backup

In spite of hardware and software reliability improving and companies introducing new and improved backup tools every year, there will always remain the risk of things going wrong. It's bad enough if, for example, your computer has a major system failure such as a damaged hard disk which you need to pay money to have replaced. It's much worse if you find that you've also lost all of your data as well. This is why it is extremely important to familiarize yourself with the various backup options that you have available to you. Whether you lose data due to accidental deletion, faulty hardware or a new driver installation going horribly wrong, having all of your important data backed up will greatly help to soften the blow.

Backing up data, in the simplest way, is a matter of copying over your important files to a separate hard drive or other media. The easiest and fastest way is to use a USB flash drive, DVD or CD. Backing up data manually, however, is relatively risky, since there's always a chance that you can forget about something important. In the worst case scenarios, you might lose the backup as well. This is especially likely in the event of a major hardware failure in which the backup was stored on the computer which actually went wrong.

One of the best ways to back up your data is to use a web-based service. This is effective for smaller amounts of data since free online backup services provide limited space. The amount of time it takes to upload data to a website also places a practical restriction on how much you can back up. Free services such as Microsoft's SkyDrive are useful both for sharing files and backing them up. You can access the files from anywhere from any machine with Internet access.

Windows also includes backup and restore features of its own, which you can find in the Control Panel. You can backup personal files and folders, or you can even back up an entire hard drive in the form of a system image. This will ensure that absolutely everything, including your operating system, drivers and programs, is safely backed up. You should also be sure to use reliable media, such as an external hard disk or high-quality DVD disks which can be safely stored away somewhere else. Windows also provides automatic backup options, which help to overcome the risk of accidentally forgetting to backup new files.


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