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The 7 best ways to back up your PC

Methods that are (almost) infallible

Nobody likes backing up, but one day it'll save your bacon. Here are the seven most efficient methods of protecting your data, no matter what your situation.

Strategy 7: Back up the backup

Good for: Your documents (including recent documents), application data, media files, and heirlooms, and the system as a whole

Frequency: Daily

Recovery features: Not applicable, since this is just a copy

Automatic off-site storage: No

You should never have only one copy of anything, including your backup. Multiple backups add to your protection.

If you follow more than one of the strategies above, you'll have multiple backups. For instance, the image backup you create to protect Windows and your applications adds supplemental data protection.

I endorse having more than one image backup, as well. Archiving your digital heirlooms introduces additional copies of files that should also be part of your regular, daily backup routine.

A few other options deserve mention.

A NAS drive such as the Synology DS209j permits you to back up your backup. You can plug an external USB drive into the DS209j and back everything up on it. Taking this step is essential if you use the NAS drive to store shared media that is unavailable on your local PCs, but it's a good thing to do even if you're simply backing up the backup.

You can use different backup programs and media to cover yourself in interchangeable ways. For instance, you might back up to an external hard drive with one program one day, and over the Internet via a service like Mozy the next.

You should protect immediately important files (as opposed to long-term important ones) as you go, by emailing them to yourself - preferably to an account that you access via the web - as you work. Get in the backup habit, and you'll be glad you did. Avoid backing up, and you'll eventually regret it.

Laptops buying advice

See all laptop reviews

See also: How to pick business backup storage media

  1. Methods that are (almost) infallible
  2. The easiest backup of all
  3. Storing your backup at a safe distance
  4. Backing up on your home network
  5. Save your entertainment
  6. Preparing for disaster
  7. Storing in the long-term
  8. Backing up your backup

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