Ⅰ. What Is Backup & Types of Backup
*In this article, referring to "backup" mainly means backing up computer files.
Every data protection site has emphasized the importance of making a backup. However, even if we know we're supposed to make backups to protect our data and important files, any one of us can get confused about which backup method is the best and most secure. So let's go back to the beginning. Before creating a backup, let's first understand what a backup is and what types of backups are.
What is backup? In general, a backup is a duplicate copy of data that can be used to restore the original after a data loss event. The purpose of creating a backup is to protect important files from being lost due to hardware failure, software corruption, accidental deletion, or other unforeseen disasters.
There are three types of backups: full backup, incremental backup, and differential backup. Let's take a look at each one in more detail.
1) Full Backup: A full backup copies all the files in the selected folders/directories to the specified destination. Full backups are usually performed less frequently than other types of backups because they require more time and storage space. If you have large amounts of data to back up, you may want to consider using an external hard drive or other removable storage devices.
2) Incremental Backup: An incremental backup copies only the files that have been modified since the last backup (full or incremental). Incremental backups are typically performed more frequently than full backups and require less time and storage space.
3) Differential Backup: A differential backup copies only the files that have been modified since the last full backup. Differential backups are usually performed less frequently than incremental backups but more often than full backups. They require more time than incremental backups but less storage space.
In this part we have introduced the three types of backup. Among which most users are more familiar with the full backup. If you are curious about incremental and differential backup, click here to learn about incremental vs differential backup.
Ⅱ. Smart Plan: The Best Strategy to Create a Backup
There is no "one size fits all" solution when it comes to computer backups. The best backup strategy depends on your data, how often it changes, and how much you can afford to lose.
Here are some factors to consider when creating a backup plan:
- - How much data do you have?
- - How often does it change?
- - What type of data is it? (e.g., documents, photos, music, etc.)
- - How much can you afford to lose?
- - What is the likelihood of data loss? (e.g., hardware failure, software corruption, accidental deletion, etc.)
- - What is the cost of data recovery?
Based on the answers to these questions, you can decide how often to back up your data and what type of backup to use.
For example, if you have a large amount of data that changes frequently, you may want to consider using an incremental backup strategy. This means that you will back up your data regularly (e.g., daily or weekly), and only the files that have been modified since the last backup will be copied. This is a good option if you have limited storage space and/or time for backups.
On the other hand, if you have a small amount of data that doesn't change often, you may want to consider using a full backup strategy. This means backing up all your data at once (e.g., monthly or yearly) and copying all the files to the specified destination. It is a good option if you have plenty of storage space and/or backup time.
No matter what backup strategy you choose, it's essential to test your backups regularly to ensure they are working properly. This can be done by restoring a few files from your backup and comparing them to the originals. If there are any differences, you will know that your backup is not working correctly, and you will need to troubleshoot the issue.
If you explore deeper in the backup field, you will not miss the 3-2-1 backup strategy. In general, the numbers stand for the backup copies and the backup locations. Click here to learn about the backup strategy.
Ⅲ. How to Backup Computer on Windows - Backup Choices
After learning the basic information of backup, now it's time to know how to back up a computer on Windows. When we say "back up your computer", it's actually a very vague description because we need to back up the data, and the data in a computer can be divided into several parts. For example, you might want to backup important files on your computer, and these files can store in folders or disks. Or you want to back up the system disk of your computer so that you can restore your system in case your computer is unable to boot or is badly damaged. So this section will explain what to do when backing up different parts of your computer and where to store the backup.
Backup Choices You Need to Know
When creating the backup file, choosing a proper destination and a proper backup format is very important. Commonly, three backup choices can meet different data protection demands: back up to an external hard drive, create a disk image backup, and back up to a cloud service.
External hard drive: When creating the backup file, choosing a proper destination is very important. The best place to store backups is an external hard drive because it's safe, easy to use, and can store a lot of data. With an external hard drive, you can copy and paste specific files, store a backup image, or clone a disk or partition to it.
Disk Image: A disk image is an exact disk or partition copy. Disk images are often used for backup purposes. It is recommended to create a system disk image to an external hard drive in case your computer fails to boot.
Cloud: Saving files to a cloud service as a backup is a new trend. Cloud outperforms the traditional backup destination in the aspects of universal access and scalability. If you think you need to check and access the backed-up files now and then, using a cloud drive service is a good choice.
Ⅳ. Backup the Entire Computer | All Backup Choices Are Included
- #1. Backup Computer to An External Hard Drive
- #2. Create a Disk Image Backup Computer
- #3. Backup Computer to Cloud
#1. How to Backup Computer to An External Hard Drive
In the above part, it has been mentioned that an external hard drive is the best backup destination. It is rich in storage, fast in data transfer, and portable in carrying. What's more, with an external hard drive, you can manually create a copy of essential data or set the drive as the backup destination with backup software.
a) Manually backup files and folders:
This is the easiest way of backing up computer data to the external hard drive.
Step 1. Connect your backup external hard drive to your computer. (If it is a new drive, you might need to initialize it in advance.)
Step 2. Copy and paste the files you want to backup to the external hard drive.
- With this method, you can only back up files and folders. If you want to backup your system or the whole disk (including disk layout), you need to use Windows built-in system image tool or a third-party backup utility.
b) Set the drive as a backup location:
When using Windows built-in backup utilities (File History or Backup and Restore) and third-party backup software to a backup computer, the system would notice you choose a backup drive in the setup process. Here we will tell you how to set up your external hard drive as the backup location.
Set up File History:
Step 1. Go to Control Panel > System and Security > File History.
Step 2. Connect your external hard drive to the computer.
Step 3. Click "Select drive" on the left, and choose the connected hard drive as a backup destination.
Set up Third-party Backup Software:
If you're using third-party backup software, you can choose to save the backup file to various locations. Here, we will take EaseUS Todo Backup as an example to show you the process of backing up a computer to an external hard drive. Download the free backup software and follow the guide step-by-step.
- Key Takeaways of EaseUS Todo Backup
- Completely free software to backup computer
- Easy to get along with. Doesn't need to spend too much time learning how to use
- Set task for full/differential/incremental backup
- Wild range of backup support: from a single file folder to the entire operating system
Step 1. Click "Select backup contents" to initiate a backup.
Step 2. There are four data backup categories, File, Disk, OS, and Mail, click File.
Step 3. Local and network files will be displayed on the left side. You may extend the directory to choose which files to back up.
Step 4. Select the location where you want to store the backup by following the on-screen instructions.
Click "Options" to encrypt the backup with a password in "Backup Options," and to setup a backup schedule and choose to initiate a backup at a certain event in "Backup Scheme." There are a variety of other customization options available for the backup process.
Step 5. You may save the backup to a local disk, EaseUS' online service, or a NAS.
Step 6. EaseUS Todo Backup enables customers to back up data to a third-party cloud drive and its own cloud drive.
If you want to back up data to a third-party cloud drive, choose Local Drive, scroll down to add Cloud Device, add your account, and then log in.
You can also save backups to EaseUS's cloud storage service. Sign up for an EaseUS Account and log in after clicking EaseUS Cloud.
Step 7. To begin backup, click "Backup Now" Once the backup process has been finished, it will be shown as a card on the panel's left side. To further manage a backup job, right-click it.
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Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.
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