We're all different. We have different jobs, families and interests, so it makes sense that our computer backup needs would be diverse too. Fortunately, backup software manufacturers understand and offer backup choices to fit virtually any need.
Understanding Backup Basics
There are three basic types of backup: full, incremental and differential. Put simply, full backups allow you to make a copy of all the data files on your computer in a single shot. They are perfect for computer novices and for the average home computer and should be performed weekly.
The other two basic backup types, differential and incremental, are more for people who work from home or who want to backup a computer used in a business. These types of data backups are typically done several times a week (if not daily) for maximum protection against data-loss.
Differential backups only backup the files that have changed since your last full backup, so these take longer and use more storage space, but have a shorter restoration time.
Incremental backups only backup the files that have changed since your last backup (whether your last backup was a full or an incremental backup) so incremental backups are quicker and take less space, but restoration time is much longer as you must restore both your last full backup and all of the incremental backups performed since that time.
Considering Your Backup Options
Many of today's backup software programs offer a wide array of backup options; giving you the flexibility to create a backup and recovery solution that will fit your needs. Here are a few:
One-Click System Backup Capability If simple is what your life demands, then this tool may be just what the doctor ordered. Although it's only available on select backup products, this convenient tool makes a full system backup with the click of a single button.
Files-In-Use Backup If the data you need to backup changes throughout the day, this tool is a good choice, as it can perform several data backups while your computer is active. The ability to backup files while in use is an excellent tool for those that work from home or those in an office with projects that evolve throughout the day. This tool is available with most backup software programs.
Complete System Backup Also called Image Backup, Drive Image and Hard Drive Image, a complete system backup saves a copy of your entire hard drive, including your operating system, registry, drivers, software application as well as your data files—allowing you to restore your entire computer back to a given point in time. A complete system backup is a good alternative to reformatting a hard drive that's heavily infected with spyware or computer viruses.
Advancing Your Backup Capabilities
Some backup software comes with options that go beyond the simple novice approach, giving you special tools to deal with unique challenges. Here are a few examples:
Backup Data Compression Most backup software programs offer some form of data compression, which allows you to pack more data into the same location - perfect for anyone with limited storage space.
Backup File Filtering Filtering allows you to filter certain types of files for backup. For example, you can select to backup all of the images in your hard drive - giving you the freedom to refine your data backup in ways that best suit your needs. This tool is also available on most backup software.
Backup Password Protection and Encryption If you use passwords to protect data on your computer, it makes sense to do the same with your data backup. Most backup software offers password protection, but not all allow you to encrypt your password, which keeps your files safe from hackers.
Now that you have a foundation to start from, you can begin your data backup software selection. There are plenty of good resources out there, including our data backup software reviews, to aid you in your search. So don't waste another moment, get going and discover the software that will back you up, no matter what.