I LOVE Image backups!
Hard drives die (yes, it happens often). With an Image backup, if your hard drive dies, you can do an Image restore to a new hard drive and in one step, it loads your computer back to just like it was when you did your backup. Windows – yes, ALL your programs – yes, ALL your data – yes. In as little as a few minutes (depending on your computer speed, amount of data, etc), your computer can be ready to go again. No loading Windows, no finding (or re-purchasing) your software/product keys, no downloading data – it’s all there. Back to business.
Step 1 – Get an external hard drive (if you have multiple computers, you can use one external drive and move it between computers). You can also use a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device (basically, a hard drive connected to your network) to backup one or multiple computers through the network.
Step 2 – Load some software that can do an image backup. My favorite commercial (paid) program is Acronis True Image. There are some good FREE ones too. Here’s a couple good ones:
AOMEI Backupper Standard – Free software that will backup your whole system, disk, file folder or whatever you want.
Macrium Reflect Free – Create differential images (only backup the changes since the last image backup), fast imaging…. good and free!
Here’s how I generally run my backups – I do an image backup only every once in a while (maybe monthly). I only do it every once in a while because my main system, apps, etc only changes every once in a while and a full image backup copies a LOT of data – every file on your drive. What does change daily is my data, documents, etc. That, I backup regularly (ideally daily, depending on your tolerance for losing data). Ideally also, you want your data to be off-site (in case of fire, theft, etc), so a data backup to the cloud is a great option.
So if you do an image backup on the first of every month and a daily cloud data (all your documents, pictures, financial data, whatever) backup…. IF on the 10th of the month your hard drive dies…. You restore your image backup (back up and running in a very short amount of time), then use your data backup to restore the relatively small amount of data that has changed over those last 10 days.
There are a LOT of backup methods. The one that is appropriate for you will depend on your data, equipment and circumstances. The most important thing is if you have important data – GET IT BACKED UP! DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE!
If you need help planning and/or implementing a backup solution for your your home or business, give us a call at Discount Computer Service. We have technicians that can come out to your home and/or business and get it set up properly. 410-358-7300.