How Often Should You Back Up Your Computer?

How Often Should You Back Up Your Computer?

How would you feel if your computer refused to boot tomorrow? You might mourn the loss of photographs, text documents, software and other data. To protect yourself, establish a backup schedule and stick to it. But how often should you back up your files?

Why Should You Back Up Your Computer?
If your hard drive fails or a power outage destroys your computer's hardware, you could lose every piece of data stored on the machine. Even if you maintain your hardware religiously, other threats exist. For example, a virus could rip through your computer and compromise your files. Several programs help you recover from a virus, but no guarantee exists for full restoration.

What is a Backup?
Backing up your computer creates copies of your files and stores them in one or more separate locations. Some computer users back up their files to external hard drives or flash drives, while others use cloud backups to protect their data. Think of a backup as an insurance policy against catastrophe. If your computer suffers a virus, crash or other issue, your files remain untouched in the separate location.

Many people neglect backups because of the time required. If you never back up your computer, consider using an online backup software. It automates the process so you know you're covered all the time. You'll enjoy greater usage capacity and enhanced peace of mind.

Whether you conduct backups manually or automatically, frequency plays a large part in determining the process' success. How often should you back up your computer? The answer depends on your usage patterns.

How Often Do Your Files Change?
Some people constantly load new files onto their computers and make changes to old ones. Others rarely use their computers. Determine your backup frequency based on your rate of file changes. For example, a photographer who downloads 200 images to his or her computer on a daily basis needs to schedule daily backups.

How Important Is Your Data?
You might not care if you lost your browsing history, but what if you lost your thesis paper or your childhood photos? Consider the value of your files and documents when establishing a backup schedule. If you load your computer with 2GB of family home videos, for instance, you need to conduct a backup right away.

When Do You Update Your Files?
For better security, consider conducting computer backups at the same time you perform other computer-related tasks. A web designer who creates new graphics for clients every day of the week, for example, might back up his or her computer at the end of every workday. Not only do systematic backups protect new files, but they also create rigid schedules.

If you use online backup software, schedule backups accordingly. Think about your usage patterns. If you add or change files on a particular day, schedule backups for that specific time.

Scheduling regular computer backups saves your data if something goes wrong with your computer. It also creates peace of mind because you don't have to worry about lost files.

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