Your best backup strategy

If you’ve ever gone through a hard drive failure crisis, then you know how important backing up your computer is. On the other hand, if you’ve been skipping along with nary a problem and you’ve never backed your aging computer up: it’s time.

Hard drives can fail without warning. And it’s really hard (often impossible) to retrieve your lost data. Years of photos, contracts, your resume — gone. No computer is immune to this. It really comes down to hardware breaking down, just like how parts of your car break all of a sudden.

You need a backup strategy.

It doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but if you want to hold on to all those years of memories and files, you absolutely need a backup strategy.

There are several options that I’ll outline here, including the pros and the cons.

External Hard Drive

You can buy a 1-terabyte external hard drive for around $100 or more. I recommend buying as much storage as you can afford because you’ll use it up over time. When you’re buying a hard drive online, make sure you check out the reviews, as the last thing you need is for your backup drive to fail too.

Backing up on a hard drive is relatively easy. You can simply move files or folders you want to backup over to the hard drive once it’s plugged into your computer. Follow the instructions on your PC in Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Backup and Restore, or use Time Machine on your Mac. And if you don’t have it already then give us a call and we can install it and provide you with a quick instruction on how to maximize its features.


While you could back files up on services like Google Drive or Dropbox, you’ll run out of space pretty quickly. It’s kind of like using a USB drive to store all your stuff. Many of my clients are scheduling visits with me to install and help navigate these new products, and some of the cloud backup services that I recommend to them are Rackspace or Canadian Cloud Backup. For a monthly fee, you can have your computer automatically backed up.

Cloud will cost you more over time, so it’s important that you know that the service you use is more reliable than an external hard drive. Ask your service provider about Redundancy, which means that your data isn’t just stored on one server (which could fail), but is also backed up on other servers.

Make an easy plan

Once you have the equipment or capability to back up your data, it’s important to make sure you use it! Depending on how much you use your computer and update files, you’ll want to back up your data weekly or monthly. It doesn’t take long. Usually, you’ll just set it up and let your computer do its thing while you make dinner or go for a walk. If you have a ton of data, it could take a few hours, in which case start it when you go to bed and let it do its work overnight.

You can put a date in your calendar, or you can automate the process in the case of cloud data. If you’re looking for backup solutions for your business, then I recommend backing your data up daily and automating it so that the backup happens overnight.

I’m always happy to help you with your tech needs… and I sympathize with those who come to me with the cautiously hopeful request to get their data back after a crash. Like most things tech-related, be proactive!

Need help with your backup strategy, installing new products or getting a schedule in place? Get in touch!