How To Backup Your Computer

This article provides an overview of all the topics that are important to understand about backing up your computer.

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There is some anecdotal information that CDs and DVDs can last a comparatively short period of time and that they may not be good for archival purposes. It is very difficult to test the lifetime of CDs and DVDs because temperature, humidity and other factors can affect the results. For more information see:

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One of the first decisions you'll need to make is whether you want to perform image backups or file by file backups. If you choose image backups, R Drive, ToDo Backup Free , and Paragon Backup and Recovery Free are good choices. Here's a review or R Drive and ToDo Backup. A review of Paragon Backup and Recovery Free is also available. Next you'll need to decide what hardware you'll use to store your image based backup. You can choose DVDs, flash drives and external hard drives. If you are interested in an external hard drive for your image backup, the Western Digital Elements Desktop or Western Digital Portable are both good choices.

If you are doing an image backup, your software will ask you whether you wish to create a Recovery Drive. You should definitely do this. If you are using a file by file backup, you won't be asked whether you wish to create a Recovery Drive, but you should definitely do so. These directions explain how to create a Reocvery Drive. At the top of the page, choose Windows 10 or Windows 11, and then follow the directions to create your Recovery Drive.

Western Digital also sells a My Book which has automatic backup software on an external hard drive.

Another alternative is to backup your data to the web. Here's a list of 10 companies that offer online backups. This has the advantage of providing you with protection should a fire or other disaster happen in your home. There are several products in this category. FileShadow offers 10 GB backups for free. Idrive gives you 5 GB of space for free. Carbonite and MediaFire also offer online backup.

Backing up to a flash drive is one of the least expensive solutions. Flash drives come in a variety of sizes. Microcenter in Rockville sells inexpensive flash drives. Amazon offers both inexpensive 1 TB and 2 TB flash.

There are 2 types of backup available in Win 10. Here are directions for creating an image backup in Windows 10 and restoring it to your computer. There are two sites that offer directions for creating File History backups here and here.

This site explains all the backup methods that are available on Windows 11. Here are directions for creating a Win 11 image backup and a Win 11 File History backup.

If you have a wireless network at home with two or more computers connected to it, you may wish to install a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, which can backup all the computers on your network. There are many of these available including a Western Digital My Cloud EX2 Ultra.

I no longer recommend the Seagate external hard drives because of terrible customer service that Seagate provided me.

PC World wrote an article that evaluated various software backup programs.