It’s about that time. What time? Back up time!
You don’t know about back up time? Let me tell you, back up time is that time when you start to hear about other people’s computers breaking or dying or drinking their beer.
Then they cry in the Apple store or to the Geek Squad and it’s always the same solution: Next time, back your stuff up.
Oh, next time, eh? GFY…
Don’t be like them. To avoid woe, heartbreak, misery, et al, start your preventative medicine before there’s a problem.
Step 1: Where will you back up your files?
Get an external hard drive (one that comes with a handy USB cable). One that can hold the contents of your entire computer AND MORE!
You can use “the cloud” but that costs money and has terms and conditions that may or may not include selling your data if you [thing you may or may not do accidentally or on purpose] or if they [something you probably wouldn’t expect them to do but they reserve they right].
I say, keep your own data on your own devices with your own rules.
Step 2: The great purge!
I like to take a few moments to go though my files and think, “Do I really want to save this twice?” This is a good time to organize, sort and purge unneeded files.
What’s going on in your downloads folder? My Documents?
I love WinDirStat to help give me some perspective on what I’ve done to my machine. Oh, 60% of my space is PDFs of Comics from Dark Horse? And 20% is pictures of my husband’s feet because he won’t let me take picture of his face but I like to pester him anyway? Cool, I’ve not only learned a bit about myself but also about what I can safely store some place else without feeling like I’ll be tearing up my virtual couch cushions later to find it.
Computers, unlike your home office, are the perfect place for sub-folders and micro-organizing.
EXAMPLE 1: Blogs> Welcome Home, Nerd> Posts>Organizing
EXAMPLE 2: Pictures> 2012>Vacations>New Hampshire>Bill’s Wedding Weekend
Label all your movies, music, and other files in whatever way makes you happy and Zen.
Step 3: Choose how you want to back up your files.
- You can back up your entire computer,settings, programs and everything else.
- You can choose specific folders like Movies, Music, and Photos that you want to be sure are safe and not taking up all the space on your computer.
Step 4: BACK. Back, Back it up!
For a big back up of the situation as it stands, check out these simple steps from lifehacker.com for both, Windows and a Mac.
For a folder by folder back up (Windows):
Plug your hard drive into your computer using the chord. The computer might ask you about formatting the drive. Do it. This helps to ensure it’s as blank as can be before use.
If you don’s get a prompt, that’s okay. Navigate to (My) Computer. Your plugged in drive should be among all listed drives, including C and/or D, your CD drive, and any plugged in devices.
(This might be a good time to rename your hard drive if you worry about accidentally erasing your actual computer)
Right click on your external hard drive, scroll down to “Format…,” Click it. Follow any prompts that prompt you to follow them until it agrees to format and that formatting has happened.
Now your drive is like a big empty folder that you can drag and drop.
To drag and drop: Click and hold the left mouse button on the file you want to move. Drag it to it’s new location and let go of the left mouse button.
If your file says it’s “Copy [file name] to [new location]” you’re making a copy and will still have the original files and folders in the original location. If you want to move them off your computer, press the shift key while dragging the file, you’ll see the word “copy” change to the word “move.”
- Shift to Move
- Ctrl to Copy
Step 5: Keep out of harms way.
Store your hard drive safely according to whatever it says on the box. No sense in making a back up if it’s hanging out on the same beer-soaked table as your lush of a laptop.