How To Backup Your Computer
This article provides an overview of all the topics that are important to understand about backing up your computer.
Locating the folder where your email is stored can be difficult. Outlook Express, Outlook, Windows Live Mail, Mail, and Thunderbird all store your email in peculiar folders. Some of these programs store your mail in one folder if you use Windows 10 and a different folder if you use Windows 7. For help finding where your email is stored, take a look at each of these 2 websites:
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:
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, Acronis True Image 2020, ToDo Backup Free , and Paragon Backup and Recovery Free are good choices. The 2021 version of Acronis True Image was reviewed. A review of Paragon Backup and Recovery Free is also available. Another image backup software choice is Macrium Reflect, which is free. A review of Macrium Reflect is available. Next you'll need to decide what hardware you'll use to store your image based backup. You can choose CDs, DVDs, flash drives and hard drvies. 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.
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. 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 that are 256 GB or less. Amazon has a 2 TB flash drive for $46 or a 1 TB drive for $19.
Windows 8 and Win 8.1 both contain two types of backup. One is a brand new approach to backing up your computer and is called File History. Here's a brief explanation of how to implement the File History backup. The second type creates an image backup and is similar to the image backup in Windows 7. Here's an overview of the Windows 8 backup offering and here's the comparable version for Win 8.1.
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.
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 rated free services that backup your computer to the Cloud as well as free services that backup your computer to an external drive.