Computer Maintenance: Backup


Computer backups are essential to make sure you don’t lose your personal data. However, most people don’t realise just how important it is to keep regular backups until it is too late. There are online storage systems out there but don’t be fooled by them, you need external backups as well. Also, don’t forget to export/backup your Social Media accounts.

Backup your mobile devices

When you connect an Android device, you have different options on how you wish to use the data.

PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) is where you can access the photos on your device. However, the MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) is a better choice as you gain access to more fodlers on Android.

If your device has File Transfer as an option, then choose that one as that would be the best method for Android devices.

Apple will let you access your photos once you allow your computer access. If you delete photos, they will be removed from your Apple account automatically. If you perform a backup using iTunes, you can backup more than just your photos, your entire phone can be backed up to your computer.

Make use of the Google backup and Apple iCloud backup to keep your data in the cloud. It gives an extra element of backup but don’t rely on these on their own.

Online Drives

Online drives are a useful feature for storing your files and accessing them remotely but they aren’t really a backup solution. If your data is corrupted on your computer, this will be synchronised to the online storage. In addition, your ability to send and receive email (if you use hotmail/msn/outlook with Microsoft OneDrive or gmail with Google Drive or with Apple iCloud) will be prevented if you fill the storage limit of the online storage.

However, if your account is compromised you will lose access to your computer, phone and tablet together with all your data.

Social Media

Export your social media accounts, because if your account is lost or compromised, you will lose your data so keeping an export of your data will enable you to get up and running quicker with a new account.

Don’t forget to enable 2 factor authentication, and use an external app (such as 2fas) to store the keys in and don’t forget to back these up.

Zapier have screen shots showing how to extract your Social Media data for backup as well as how to automate this process.

Best backup pattern

Start optimising your data using Tiago Forte’s PARA method, this will cause you to move all your non-essential and old files into an archive folder. Since you are less likely to make changes to these files, they are easier to backup to a memory stick or dedicated external hard drive. Look to backup these files less regularly, perhaps once a month. You will create a new archive folder every time you archive anyway.

You can now estimate the storage capacity you need for your projects, areas and resources and order appropriate sized backup drives and/or memory sticks.

Do NOT order non-branded hard drives and/or memory sticks or from cheap retailers like eBay, Temu, Wish etc. If you do so, prepare to lose your data.

Look for trusted brands like Samsung, Kingston, and SanDisk (now owned by Western Digital) which can be found on Amazon as well as high street shops.

Your priority is to backup the Projects folder more regularly than the other PARA folders because you will be working more often in them.

If you are looking to do a daily backup, then look at the rule of 12: 12 memory sticks or external drives that are considerably larger than your current storage usage (1 for each day of the week, then 1 for each week of the month)

This method ensures you have your data if you get a ransomware attack.

Time Machine & File History

Apple’s Time Machine is an incremental backup solution where your computer stores the backups to an external drive and those files are accessible via a graphical interface that shows your files from different times, so you can see the files you have overwitten or deleted and recover them.

Microsoft File History works similar to Time Machine.

Note that these backups are designed to work with your backup solution, since you don’t want to leave these drives connected permanently, since they can be infected or corrupted by malware or ransomware attacks.

Backup software

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