- Your computer dies
- A virus or other malware has messed up your computer
- Your laptop drops or drowns
- Your phone breaks or the dog chews it up
In each case, you risk losing your files, photos, music, and everything else on your computer or phone. If you have backup, you can recover your stuff. If not, you’re doomed.
Sometimes it takes a disaster to motivate people to back up their devices. Today, backing up is easier than ever, thanks to current operating systems and the cloud. Having good backup also makes it easier to move to a new computer or phone. There are two ways to backup your devices: local storage and the cloud. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at each in more detail. (For a basic explanation of the cloud, see https://nononsensehelp.me/2013/11/cloud/.)
Local backup This means backing up to a physical device, typically an external hard drive, which is easy in both Windows and MacOS. First, buy an external hard drive. These are relatively inexpensive. In Windows, the File History feature backs up your files to the external drive. You can specify the files you want to back up as well as the frequency of backup. Once you have set it up, backup just happens automatically. If you need to recover a file or several, you can do so quickly and easily. In MacOS Time Machine which does the same thing.
Cloud backup Instead of using a physical device, your data are backed up to a cloud service. There are several good ones available, including Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and DropBox. These cloud services work the same as a local hard drive, except that your data are stored on servers online. You need to be on the internet for cloud services to work.
Pros and cons Both backup approaches are easy to set up and both are automatic once they are started. Local backup requires an external hard drive while cloud backup requires subscription to a cloud service. Neither cost is substantial. Recovery of everything on your computer is faster with an external drive, while recovery of individual files is quick either way. An external drive can break or get destroyed in a disaster such as fire, water damage, or theft. Data in the cloud can be accessed from any of your devices, anywhere, which may be convenient depending on your work habits and lifestyle.
I recommend doing both kinds of backup. This “belt and suspenders” approach gives you the best of both worlds as well as double protection. When you are ready, NoNonsense Help can assist you in setting up your backup to give you peace of mind.