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Advice on backing up files

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This article explains about some best practices to ensure that your important files are kept available to you for years to come.

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It is very important to ensure that you regularly back up your data so in the event of your computer breaking, getting infected with a virus, or losing it, you still have access to your important documents.

The rule of 3

Especially with very important documents (such as dissertations, theses and other essays for assessment), it’s is highly recommended that you regularly (i.e. daily) back up your work to at least 2 other places.

To help make this easy, we’d recommend copying your daily saved file to an external hard drive or USB stick, as well as emailing yourself a daily copy. You may also want to consider

Cloud storage

With Cloud storage being very affordable, and often free (up to a certain amount), Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox or iCloud all offer very easy ways to automatically sync your important content to their cloud storage.

These tools can all be configured to schedule back ups of your files at particular times (for example, you could leave your computer on whilst watching an hour of TV, and recently updated files will be automatically synced), or content can be synced between your devices.

For more details on these services, please take a look at each service’s website.

External drives

Whilst emailing and using cloud services is great for documents and small files, it can become much harder to back up large media files such as videos and other multimedia content.

For active projects, we’d highly recommend storing content on high speed USB Hard Drives that can easily be transported between computers. That said, it’s also a good idea to have a copy of the files somewhere else too – perhaps on cloud storage if your upload speed allows it, or keep a second external hard drive in a different location with a copy of the original files on.

External drives are an investment, but we consider them very worthwhile. One member of the AV Support team has had a Lacie drive that still operates for over 15 years, but we would advise buying a well reviewed branded drive, as they tend to last longer – although be aware that as with any other computer hardware, it won’t last for ever, which is why it’s a good idea to have multiple copies!

Updated on 7th March 2022

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