“I think your hard drive crashed…” Reading those words from my tech support person sent chills down my spine. I knew what that meant, I also knew that I could have avoided the disaster that was about to happen. Last year when I got a bad virus on my computer I went on a backup frenzy and then well other things got in the way and before I knew it, it had been 6 months since my last back up. All the photos of my kids and my work files from the last 6 months started running through my head. Lucky for me, I have a good, patient tech support guy (thanks Dan!) and after 6 days I was back up and running. While Dan was able to recover most everything, I still had to reinstall all my software, I lost some files, including my precious photos, work files and a good chunk of my Internet bookmarks. I am telling you this so hopefully it doesn’t happen to you. By taking just a few easy steps you can be completely backed up and not have to face the same dreaded words that I did on that day.
1. Back up your entire computer online
I use CrashPlan to back up my entire hard drive. CrashPlan offers an unlimited data backup plan for $5.99 a month and for that very low price they will back up my entire computer including my precious hard drive. An added bonus for me is CrashPlan is located just across the river and are local for me!
My most favorite feature is that CrashPlan works in the background to keep my computer backed up. I don’t have to to a thing. CrashPlan backs up all of my data anytime a document changes or a picture is added and sends me a nice email every Sunday saying “Ms. Snyder your computer has been 100% backed up.” Truly this helps me sleep at night!
2. Back up your entire computer on an external drive.
An external drive can easily be plugged into your computer and files synced when the drive is plugged in. It is cheaper than paying a yearly subscription, but if you have a natural disaster or theft happen to your house your data is gone. At this point I am so incredibly paranoid that our house will be backing up online and to the external drive! I purchased a Western Digital My Passport Ultra 1.5TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 with Auto and Cloud Backup external drive from Amazon to backup our files. This large of a drive should hold us for years to come! External hard drives have come down in price making them an affordable back up solution for the everyday user. The only downside is that you have to remember to manually back up your files.
3. Backup your Internet bookmarks
I use Xmarks to automatically sync all of my bookmarks. The cool thing about Xmarks is that you download their app and it runs in the background on your browser and backs up all of your bookmarks. It is also free to use and you can access your bookmarks from any computer that you are using.
4. Use a Password Manager
The only thing that did not cripple me when my computer crashed was not losing any of my passwords. For a long time now I have been using LastPass to store all of my passwords. LastPass is a password manager that not only saves all my passwords but keeps all my passwords safe against hackers. I highly recommend you use a password manager not only in case of a crash, but for security reasons and if you are going to use one, LastPass is the one to use!
If you have a smart phone or a phone that you use to take pictures, back up your phone! When I had an Android I used Lookout Mobile and they backup my phone daily, including all my photos of my kids. Now that I have an iPhone, I use DropBox to back up my photos. No, I don’t use the iCloud because I think it is too expensive. I just plug in my iPhone to my computer and DropBox automatically imports my iPhone photos. It’s great!
I have researched all of these companies and their competitors and have been using them for years. I know these sites are 100% safe and I trust them with my information. I hope that you will take time to secure your computers, back up your information and avoid the nightmare that I had to go through when my hard drive crashed!
Do you backup your computer regularly? Have you ever had your hard drive completely crash on you? Please tell me your story in the comments below!