Back Up Your Data
A. One of the most important steps you can take to protect your data is to back it up.
No system is completely secure – there is always a chance that something will happen to destroy your data. Information on your computer could be lost if the hard drive fails. The typical lifespan of a hard drive is about four years. There is variety of unexpected ways that your data can be lost such as viruses, software or hardware failure, the loss or theft of your computer,power surges, accidental deletion, file corruption and etc. Your electronic files, digital photographs, e-mail correspondence and calendar items should always be backed up as often as you feel necessary and kept in a secure location. Consider creating multiple backups to prevent a situation when you lose both computer and a back up drive. The more points of backup the less likelihood of complete failure.
A. There are a number of ways to back up your data. Each way comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Choose type of data storage that works best for your needs.
- V: drive
Backing up to the network: You can use virtual disk space provided by Marshall University. All faculty, students and staff have a personal V: drive where they can store important files not intended to be shared with others. The V: drive is a secure location, accessible from on or off campus. Learn more about V: drive.
- External Hard Drives
This option works best for backing up large amounts of data or even the entire computer. Should your computer get infected or damaged, you will be able to restore the image of the backed up file systems and return to a recent, stable state of your computer. External hard drives are the cheapest and widely used resource for backup storage. The disadvantage is that most are made from laptop or desktop hard drives and contain moving parts that can easily be damaged when moved around. Learn more about external hard drives.
- Flash Drives
Flash drives are available in a variety of sizes; some very small and portable, some are large. The larger USB drives are more reliable option for backing up your data. However, the smaller thumb or flash drives can easily be attached to key chains or placed in to pockets and transported anywhere. They work as a temporary storage of data and generally not recommended for long term storage. Saving your files on a flash drive as simple as dragging and dropping them onto the flash drive icon or drive letter of your device under Computer.
- CDs and DVDs
Backups on CDs and DVDs are compact, short term reliable and transportable, which makes them very popular. In most cases a single CD is enough to store large amount of data. However saving data to a CD or DVD for long-term storage is not a good option due to the possible damage like scratches, and exposure to high temperatures, humidity, and light. If you plan to store data longer than a few years, it is recommended that you keep your backup on an external hard drive. Here are some links that provide instructions on how to back up files on CDs/DVDs:
- Burn a CD or DVD in Windows Media Player
- CD and DVD Burners with MAC OS
- Creating a burn folder with MAC OS
- Online Storage
Using a third party online backup service is becoming very popular. Before choosing such company read online reviews about their services. A third party service is especially popular for backing up your personal data, such as your digital photo or music collection. Online storage is an good enough alternative if you don’t have external drive. The limitation of this choice is the fact that use of online storage requires an Internet connection to access files and can be limited by the speed of your Internet connection.
A. Visit following links for instructions on how to back up and restore data on your computer:
Windows Vista offers multiple layers of backup and restore protection: Windows Backup and Restore Center. Depending on the version of Windows Vista you have, you may either do Automatic Backup which backs up your files and data or Complete PC Backup which backs up everything on your PC. Learn about it on the Windows Vista Windows Backup and Restore Center and Windows Vista – Use Windows to back up your computer pages.
- Mac OS X
Macintosh OS 10.5 now includes a backup utility called Time Machine that can do automatic backups. Learn more about it:
Mac OS X v10.5, v10.6: How to back up and restore your files
Mac 101: Using Time Machine in OS X 10.5 Leopard
Mac OS X 10.5 – Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard Time Machine
Apple also offers a variety of backup utilities:
System/Disk Utilities Downloads
How To Backup Google Chrome Bookmarks?
A. Follow these instructions to back up and restore e-mail and address books in commonly used e-mail clients:
How to Back Up the Outlook Express Address Book and Mail Folders
How to manage .pst files in Outlook 2002 and Outlook 2003
Back up Outlook 2007 data with Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders Backup tool
A. The following are instructions for backing up and restoring bookmarks in commonly used Internet browsers:
Firefox, Thunderbird, and Sea Monkey – Lost Bookmarks
Internet Explorer – How to import and export the Internet Explorer Favorites folder
Safari – How to back up and restore your important Mac OS X 10.4 files
Bookmarks: Import or export Google Chrome Bookmarks
Ask any IT Help Desk professional and they will tell you that the number one error, when people do a backup, is that they forget to double check what files are actually being backed up. Take few minutes to see that the folders and files you want and need backed up are indeed included in the external hard drive or flash drive and not just a shortcut to them. Always check if your chosen online backup software is actually backing up all the files you want. If you do an automated backup, check through the software to make sure it’s there from time to time.