Backing up files for both work and personal use is a must. After all, there will come a time when you need to refer to them again.
While you could just simply dump their files on their external hard drives and be done with it, there are a number of ways to have your files backed up better and effortlessly. Let’s take a look at how to achieve this both with offline hard drives and online cloud storage services:
- Select an online cloud service that fits your preferred OSThere are three main choices for this step: Dropbox, iCloud and Microsoft OneDrive. The reason for choosing one or the other is simple. If you own more than just one device, chances are the operating system between the two devices is the same.
For example, iPhone and Mac users might opt for iCloud, as it’s already part of the iOS suite. On the other hand, those who go for Windows-based devices might opt for Microsoft OneDrive or Dropbox. While these services offer a limited amount of free storage space, that space can be expanded via a paid subscription.
However, if you’re the type to own both an iPhone and an Android device, it’s recommended to use Dropbox. This service can work with every operating system, synchronizing your files regardless of the device being used.
- Regularly download online copies onto a hard driveWhile synchronizing online is a convenient backup option, this only works if you have a stable and fast internet connection. Since some file backups can accumulate to gigabytes worth of information, it could also take days to download them if you intend to compile your files for offline access.
Given these problems, investing in an external hard drive or burning your files into a DVD are great options for permanent storage. Not only will you have them ready for access anytime, you can also transfer them all quickly through a simple USB connection.
One great option for this is the Western Digital My Book external hard drive, which comes bundled with automatic backup software. That way, you won’t even need to remember to transfer files every now and then.
- Organize your folders and file names in your hard drives for easier searchesFor the sake of organizing your hard drive, it’s advisable to make folders for both in-progress and final file versions if you’re backing up office documents. For personal files, these can be sorted by category. Music, for example, can be separated by genre or album. You can also consider separating pictures by event, month, or year.
You can also label your files by date and include keywords that you can easily remember. Words like “merger agreement” or “resume” are good names to include in your filenames. Document libraries are indexed by default, which allows you to perform keyword-based searches. This lets you save time when searching for important documents.
- Consider encrypting your local hard drive’s folders or archivesThere will always be files containing sensitive information—work documents, financial records, even scans of your birth certificates and other government IDs. Backing them up using hard drives is more advisable to avoid possible online security breaches.
In Windows, you can encrypt your folders using the built-in file encryption system to keep your information secure. Simply right-click the file, choose Properties and select Advanced. From there, you have can select “Encrypt contents to secure data” to generate an encryption key.
iOS users have the option to compress and encrypt their folders as well. Simply use the Disk Utility menu and the recommended 128-bit AES encryption setting.
- Use the File History function to recover lost files on the cloudWhile synching files is convenient, there might be times where you might accidentally delete your files or make edits that need to be reverted. Thankfully, some services actually keep a history of your changed files. For example, Dropbox keeps deleted files and older versions of it for at least 30 days.
This function allows you to download old versions of the files directly from the Dropbox website, including the deleted ones. Note that not all services have this feature. But for those that do, you will be able to retrieve your file version history either through right-clicking on the file or by using the application’s recovery functions.
How do you back up the files on your computer? Are these tips helpful in making your file backup routine easier or faster to manage? Let us know on our Facebook page!