You open your laptop, press the power button, expecting to get in touch with your family before heading off to work, and nothing happens. Maybe the screen flickers a few times, and then crashes, but for whatever reason, when our computers crash, we lose valuable information, programs, your favorite websites, your browsing history, your contacts and pictures, and anything else that has not been backed up on an external DVD or CD disc. Doing a backup on the computer itself may be great for a restore, to get the computer back to a working state by putting it in the condition it was in at the given restore date and time, but that will do you no good if your computer is completely frozen.
When your computer, be it a desktop or laptop, mini, e-book, or any other style of computer crashes, the last thing that you want to do is a complete system restore. This puts your computer back to the original settings that it was in when you opened the box it came in. The memory will not be erased, but, at the same time, it may well be corrupted and unusable. Having an external hard drive is the best way to backup computer data, as it will not be affected by a system crash, motherboard problems, or other disastrous computer problems.
Covered by a comprehensive five-year warranty, the Seagate Replica is an external hard drive with one function, and it does that one function well; the Replica will back up your computer, the hard drive, operating system (it currently works with Windows XP and Vista), settings, favorites, pictures, files and songs, and anything else that is stored on your computer. When you are working on something on your computer, the Replica keeps the changes you make in it’s constantly working back up, as the changes are made, and the same is true for program updates.
The best thing about the Seagate Replica is that all you have to do is plus the USB cable into the computer, turn it on, and click “Okay” on the opened screen. The Replica currently comes in two configurations; a 250GB model for $129, and a 500GB model for $199. The only setback of the Replica is that it is connected via a USB 2.0 cable, which is not exactly the fastest way to backup major amounts of data.
Another great way to backup your computer is by using online storage. Many of these services charge monthly or annual fees, but some are free. Of course, the online storage sites that charge fees offer excellent security, as well as guaranteed safe backup storage. Free sites usually have about 10 to 50 GB of data storage, but the best thing is that you can access your backup from anywhere. However, one problem is that your computer needs to be running and online in order to use this backup option, and when your computer is frozen, that is not exactly likely.
The good old, reliable DVDs make great back up medium for computers, and the dual layer DVD hold twice what a regular DVD +/- RW can hold. While your computer is running, go to your computer’s Backup and Restore program, and select “Backup”. You will be prompted to place a recordable CD or DVD into your optical drive, and label it with what the label says. Using CDs will take a lot longer to do a backup, as they only hold roughly 750MB, where a DVD+/- can hold as much as 8.5GB of valuable data. BluRay discs can be used for backup as long as you have an installed or connected, rewritable BluRay player. Only one could be needed to backup a normal laptop, but a complicated gaming or 3D rendering powerhouse computer could take a few BluRay discs for a backup.
Flash thumb drives, named for their size (yes, that of a normal, human thumb), are small and handy, as well as speedy little data storage devices. With some models having as much as 32GB of data storage capability, a basic backup can be held on one, or a series of thumb drives can be used for a complete backup. The problem here is the cost, as a 32GB thumb drive runs at about a hundred dollars. The smaller 2,4 and 8 GB models are usually under $20 for more inexpensive models, like SanDisc.
If you happened to have kept your old computer when you upgraded or bought a nice laptop, or if you have other computers around the home, you can use these as backup systems. Store backups for one computer on another, and don’t forget to keep a written record of which computers are backed up on which computers.
No matter which type of backup medium you choose to use as your main backup medium, it is always wise to have 2 different system backups done at least on a weekly basis. You can use rewritable digital storage medium, like a DVD R/W, preferably dual layer, or a whole bunch of your favorite kinds.