Make an inventory check on what kind of files you need to backup: what do you have on your computer and how much space does it take? You can do this manually, but there are also nice little tools that’ll help you out.
We recommend WinDirStat for Windows. It works great and is free. You’ll see exactly what takes up space on your hard drive.
Now it’s time to determine which of those computer files you identified you want to backup and how. Now, there is the easy way out which would be to backup everything online. Unlimited online backup services make this possible today but this is not always the best option.
Rather, you should cluster your files into categories answering the following question: How frequent will you need to access those files? You could go ahead and categorize those files with a scale of 1 to 5, for example.
Now that you ordered your files you can choose an online backup service that is just right for you – that way you avoid overpaying for features you don’t need. We recommend using our comparison chart that’ll give you easy access to all the important features.
You might want to get a backup only provider for all the files you don’t need that often. If you have less then 100GB of those files Backblaze might be a good option. For those files that you edit constantly it could be advisable to get a synchronization service like SugarSync that’ll allow you to sync your computer files across all your devices, plus, you get mobile access with it.
It is very important that you don’t rely on one backup source only. We’ve heard too many stories of people losing their data just because they only had a backup on an external hard drive or no backup at all. That’s why after (or before) getting online backup you should make an extra copy of your files locally, for example on an USB thumb drive.
Again use your categories 1 to 5 to be able to determine which files you’ll need most. Files that are of lower availability could go on a seperate hard drive that you could store somewhere safe at your home while other files remain on your thumb drive next to your desk.
First, good job! Enjoy peace of mind having selected a good backup strategy for your files. You’re now better off than 90% of the people. Go and evangelize others! But there is one step left: test your restore at least once a month.
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Your backup is just as good as your restore – so if you do that regularly you can eliminate problems before they even occur.