Data Backup

Tips for Choosing the Best Data Backup Method

When you first got your new computer, with its 80 gigabyte hard drive, you might have thought you would never need to back up or store your data.

Eventually, after you have collected a lot of photos, e-mails, important documents, you will realize you could lose all this information in a myriad of scenarios such as a natural disaster, fire, theft, computer crash or even a power surge. To avoid data loss, you will need to consider an alternative way to store your data and other important information.

There are several methods of data backup, and while all of them have their advantages, there are certain types of data they are better at holding than others.

Floppy Disks are one of the oldest methods of storage. They will hold almost anything that you may want to save, such as e-mails, photos, short sound bytes, photos, and other data. The disadvantage of floppy disks is that they do not hold as much data as some of the other data backup methods available.

CDs and DVDs are good for larger amounts of data, and most home computers come with the CD burner installed for you. Normally there is a software program that comes with your burner. Using the software usually requires you to select the files you'd like the burn, and then your computer will automatically read the files, determine if there is enough space on the CD, and burn it for you.

Magnetic tape is another preferred method of saving your data and also one of the oldest methods, having been in use since 1951 with the original UNIVAC computer. Magnetic tape holds more data per tape than floppy disks or CDs combined and is generally able to be recalled on any unit with a drive that accepts that size tape diskette.

Some people use external hard drives as a form of data backup. This is great as hard drive prices have come down considerably in the past few years, but it is also not the safest way to store your data, since if that hard drive fails, your data is lost and recovery of your backed up data may be questionable.

Online data backup or remote backup is a great way to store your important files and data for later recall and safe storage. With online or remote data backup, your files are uploaded onto someone else's server. There is usually a small monthly fee or per upload charge involved with this method, but it is a good, safe way to store your information.

A very important thing to consider when you're saving your data is whether or not you will able to read it at any given point in the future. Avoid compressing your data if you are saving it on a floppy disk, CDs or DVDs, since technology in the future may not allow you to recall your data in that format.

Lastly, a good point for storing your data and other information that you need to have backed up is to make two copies and store them in separate places. This ensures that you will always have your information just a disk, CD, tape, or mouse click away.

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