Backing up your data and keeping it safe from hackers and unscrupulous companies doesn’t need to be difficult or impossible–in this article, we’ll show you how to make easy secure backups using a regular Windows computer and 100% Microsoft software. When backing up your files make sure you have all the important files to backup and it also helps if you know how to organize your computer filing system.
Reasons To Ensure You Make Easy Secure Backups
Every disk drive will fail–it’s just a matter of time until your data is irrevocably destroyed. If you’ve been using computers long enough, you’ve probably already had this happen to you, and it taught you (for a few months anyway) to make regular backups of your data.But you need to worry about more than just disk failure–you also need to guard against human error. How many times have you deleted a file and not realized that it was really important until much later?A good backup solution will protect you from both failed hardware and everyday mistakes, yet it will also be simple and automatic.
Common Backup Methods That Are Not Easy or Secure
- DVD easy secure backups take a long time if you have more than one DVD worth of data to backup. They can also be expensive–writable DVDs cost between $0.25 and $0.50, making a multiple-DVD backup job cost far to much to run on a daily or even weekly basis. If backing up to a DVD disc is your only option, please read backup to DVD with Nero.
- External Hard Drives are pretty common now days and can store more files, a lot more than just a simple DVD disc. This is one of the computer backup devices that every household should have.
- Dropbox easy secure backups sounds like a great solution, but you’re limited to 2 GB on a free account. The 100 GB paid account will cost you $20 a month–that’s the equivalent of 40 to 80 DVDs. Furthermore, a security breach in Dropbox’s software can reveal your files for all the world to see.
- Mozy Online Backup is the preferred choice by Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal, Christopher Null of Yahoo! Tech and winner of the PC Magazine’s Editor’s Choice Award. It is the most secure, feature rich and inexpensive backup service in the world. Mozy Backup 2GB Free or plans starting out at $5.99/mo.
- Other Online Backup may be slightly less expensive than Dropbox and promise better security, but you’re still trusting someone else with all of your most important files. You can get online easy secure backup that is guaranteed against data loss, however it costs an absolute fortune. Livedrive offer unlimited online storage. Click here to sign up for a 30 day free trial – no credit card details required!
- See some of the best online backup providers reviewed.
The Easy Secure Way to Backup You Files
This method requires no third-party tools and no computer experience, but it does require two USB disk drives large enough to backup your entire computer along with an external hard drive case. This can make it a bit expensive if you have lots of large files to backup–but since you’ll hardly ever use the backup drives, they should last almost forever, making this option less expensive in the long run than monthly online backups.
Here’s what you want to do:
- On the first night, plug in your first USB disk drive and open the Windows Backup Wizard by clicking the Start button, going to the Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and clicking Backup and Restore. Choose the Set Up Backup option to create a new backup from your main
C:drive to your USB drive.After setting up your backup, run it. The best time to run a backup is while you’re not using the computer–for example, at night after you go to bed. This is especially true for your first backup which will take the longest–expect no more than 1 GB of backup a minute, so a 300 GB drive will take at least 5 hours the first time. Subsequent backups will go much, much faster.After the backup is finished, remove the USB drive and store it in a safe place. See the instructions later in this article for how to safely store your backup.
- On the second night, plug in your second USB disk drive and repeat all of the instructions in the above step one.
- On the third night, back up to your first disk. You don’t need to create a new backup option–you can use the option you created earlier. This gives you double easy secure backup.
- On every night after the third night, backup to your first disk. This will backup all of your files in their current state, so you never lose more than one day worth of work.
- Once a month, skip the regular backup to the first disk and make a backup to the second disk. This will give you up to a month of time to realize that you deleted a file by accident.
If you realize you deleted a file by accident, open the Windows Backup Wizard and use the restore options to get the file back.
Paranoid about your data and think this isn’t enough for easy secure backups? You can purchase additional USB disk drives and use them with this easy method to add more backup checkpoints. If you can afford two more disks, use them for backups once a week and once a quarter (every three months).
Here are some other options on what you can use to back up your files and data.
How To Store Disks For Easy Secure Backups
Leaving your easy secure backups hard drive next to the computer makes it an awfully tempting target for anyone who walks by it. Although your computer has a few security measures which make it somewhat difficult for unauthorized users to access your data, your backup contains all of your email and documents on a small, easy to use drive.
A good place for your easy secure backups on your hard drive is in a strong fire-proof safe. This will help keep it safe from the most common risks–theft and fire. Before you put it in the safe, you may want to put the drive inside a static-proof bag (usually these bags are shinny and come with most computer hardware) and inside a zip-lock bag to keep it dry in case of flooding (many safes aren’t waterproof). Also nothing is good unless you test your data backup and recovery to see if it really works.
Add A Little Extra Security To Your Easy Secure Backups–But At What Cost?
Windows can encrypt the USB disk you put your backups on, but this makes things a little bit more complicated and also a little bit more risky. You need to type your password in each time you make a backup and you also need to remember the password when you go to restore the files.
Furthermore, because of the way disk encryption works, if your backup drive gets slightly damaged, you may not be able to recover any of your files. Without encryption, you can always hire an expert to take apart your disk and attempt to recover your files–and if the disk isn’t too damaged, they might be able to recover most of your files.
If security is more important to you than recovering your files, use Windows BitLocker to encrypt your USB flash drive. (Note: BitLocker is only available in Enterprise, Ultimate, and Server editions of Windows; other Windows users can download the free TrueCrypt utility.) After enabling encryption, all of the steps remain the same for easy secure backups.