Remember to backup. We’ve all heard it many, many times, but as with so many important ideas most people only commit to performing regular backups after they have already lost all their work. Modern SSDs are far more reliable than their traditional spinning platter counterparts, but all drives can fail, computers can get damaged, and data will be lost. If you haven’t performed a backup before this happens to you then you are left with two choices – spend a lot of money with a data recovery company or have a quick cry and move on without those photos, videos, and documents you had been saving.
The prices for cloud storage have plummeted in recent years, so using a cloud backup service is generally a good idea. However, it is also good practice to have a local backup of your files stored on an external HDD/SSD that you regularly sync with backup software. Sites like Appvizer give a great breakdown of all the relevant backup software and services, but we’ll run through our favourite four below.
Your favourite cloud – Dropbox / Box / Google Drive / One Drive / iCloud
The cloud is a great place to store your files, both as way of a backup but also as a way to have constant access to all your data from all your devices. So not matter where you are, you can always access those photos or Word documents and share them with others. Each of these cloud services offer sync tools, so you can just install them on your PC or Mac and automatically have all your documents synced to the cloud in the background.
Each of these services offer free accounts with varying amounts of storage and offer you the ability to store terabytes of data for a relatively low monthly fee. Which one you prefer will vary depending on the operating system you use (iCloud isn’t great for Windows), which ecosystem you prefer (Google/Apple/Microsoft), and how much free space each of them offer when you sign up.
Carbonite is one of the oldest players in the full cloud backup space and it has stayed popular for a reason – good software and competitive pricing. There’s no free tier with Carbonite, but for $6 (£4.60) per month you get unlimited cloud backup storage for your laptop – which means all your files, not just a select few. And if that is a lot of data (possibly multiple terabytes) then for an extra $6.50 per month they include a courier service where the company will transfer all your files to external media (such as external HDD) and ship them to you physically – which can be much quicker than restoring multiple terabytes over a broadband connection.
EaseUS Todo Backup Free
There are many tools to help you backup your home computer to an external HDD, but EaseUS Todo Backup Free offers a near complete package for zero cost. There is a premium ($29.99/£22.95) version that also includes system cloning and PC-to-PC transfers amongst some other bells and whistles, but the free version here can make full, differential (all post-initial backups each include all changes since the initial backup) and incremental (all post-initial backups contain only changes since the last backup) backups, which is all most people need. And did I mention it’s free?
Acronis True Image
True Image has been around forever, providing uses with a straightforward way to backup their files in every way imaginable. You can back up files, partitions, and entire drives, and can do so with versioning, incrementally , differentially, and as a one-off event. You can schedule backups, set timings for when older backups are culled, and much, much more. True Image ($49.99/£39) is the all singing, all dancing backup solution and cut-down versions of it are often offered for free by HDD/SSD manufacturers like Crucial and Western Digital to help users clone their data to new drives – so keep an eye out for those too.
You no longer have an excuse for putting off your next backup – do it now.
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