Over the years I’ve had Hard Drives break, USB keys and SD cards that say there is no data on them, I once had two 20Gb Hard Drives, which were the same make and model and while installing Windows I formatted the wrong Hard Drive.

Thankfully I have always taken backups of my data so when devices break or I accidentally format the wrong drive it isn’t a big problem.

What Are You Doing?

Everyone should be backing up their data and there is no excuse as to why you are not backing up, as there are lots of different backup solutions and programs available some free and some paid for.

These are some of the devices that you can backup:

  • Mobile Phone
  • Tablet
  • Laptop
  • Desktop
  • NAS (network attached storage)
  • External HDD (hard disk drive)

The Back Up Options

I haven’t time or space to mention all of the backup solutions as there are thousands of them but I am writing about a few that I have used and can recommend from my personal experience.

DropBox

DropBox

Allows users to store 2GB of data for free, users can also add the app to their phone and get all camera images automatically uploaded to Dropbox meaning if you loose your phone or it breaks you don’t loose all your images.

You can purchase 100GB of additional space for £7.99 a month or £79.00 per year. There are also ways to increase your free 2GB of free space by doing all or some of the following:

  • Refer your friends, family, and coworkers to Dropbox
  • Complete the “Get Started” guide
  • Connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts to Dropbox, and follow them on Twitter
  • Upload your photos with Carousel, the new gallery from Dropbox for all your photos and videos
  • Send them feedback
  • Link Dropbox with your Mailbox for iOS account

OneDrive (aka SkyDrive)

OneDrive (aka SkyDrive)

This allows user to store 15GB of data for free with the possibility to get an extra 8GB of free space. You can also install the app on your phone and set it up to sync your images to OneDrive.

  • You can earn an extra 3 GB of storage when you activate your camera roll backup to save photos automatically.
  • Refer OneDrive to a friend and both of you will receive +500 MB. Refer up to 10 friends for a maximum of 5 GB.

Prices start at £1.99 per month for 100GB which is much better value than Dropbox. You can also get Office 365 + 1TB for £7.99 per month which is the same cost as Dropbox 100GB plan.

LiveDrive

LiveDrive

Setup which folders on your machine you want to backup and LiveDrive will watch the folders and any changes will be uploaded to the cloud. Prices start at £3 per month with unlimited backup space.

The features include:

  • Unlimited online backup
  • Simple & hassle free
  • View files anywhere
  • View your files anywhere
  • Your files are secure

Cobian Backup 11 Gravity

Cobian Backup 11 Gravity

This is a freeware program which allows you to setup different backups and schedule them at different times and dates and to different hard drives or NAS devices. As you can see from the above screenshot you are able to backup individual folders, which is good if you don’t want to backup everything. In order to run this You’ll require a external Hard drive or a NAS for this solution to work.

EaseUS ToDo Backup Workstation 7.5

EaseUS ToDo Backup Workstation 7.5

A nice bit of software that allows you to take full system backups; clone hard drives or simply backup files.

If you do a full hard drive clone and the drive breaks or you somehow lose your data you can easily restore the data back to another hard drive using a bootable USB key which you are advised to create once the software is installed.

If you clone the hard drive and restore it back it will restore all of your installed programs which is great as it means you don’t need to dig out your installation disks and serial numbers.

If however Windows is slow then restoring a backup might not be the best idea and it might be best to re-install windows and your programs and then restore your data using the file backup feature.

Time For Some Scenarios

Hopefully by now you’re on-board with the whole need to have multiple back up options. If your still unconvinced then it might be worth putting yourself in these scenarios:

  • You have a power cut/surge, which takes out your PC/Laptop and because you have your external Drive plugged in via USB, the drive is also destroyed. This means you have lost all your backups.
  • You get burgled and your Laptop is stolen along with your hard drive.
  • Other severe damage or complete destruction caused by fire, flood etc

What Do I Use?

  • DropBox (Free but I have 8GB due to earning free storage)
  • OneDrive 100GB
  • LiveDrive
  • Cobian Backup 11 Gravity (Free)
  • EaseUS ToDo Backup Workstation 7.5

What Should You Use?

My recommendations (on a PC) are to use and run the following:

  • OneDrive 100GB – because the cost compared to Dropbox for 100GB is much cheaper and you can use it on your phone to sync your images which Dropbox can also do.
  • LiveDrive – because it is £3 per month and backs up your data to the cloud.
  • EaseUS ToDo Backup Workstation 7.5 – because it allows you to do clones of drives or system files or folders, which means you can configure it for your specific needs.

Question Time…

I hope that this hasn’t left you either panicking or scratching your head as to what on earth I’ve been talking about.

As I’ve explained backing up doesn’t need to be hugely complicated but it is vital. Fire your questions my way using the comments box below if you have any and good luck with your backing up.

However long it takes you to set everything up, you won’t regret it for a second.

* Prices correct on 7th November 2014

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