Backup

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Backing up important files is more than just a good idea. It can mean the difference between a quick solution and a week-long disaster. When backups are not performed regularly, a malware-infected computer may require hours of costly work to safely retrieve files whereas having a backup means a simple wipe and re-install of the operating system.

Before you go forward, you must backup." - Cardinal Rule of Computing


Purchasing Storage Devices

The University of Rhode Island Help Desk recommends purchasing products with the following specifications,

  • A storage device with at least 500 GB of space, more space will be needed if the HDD you are backing up has a lot of music, pictures, or movies.
  • Disk drives with a SATA connecor.
  • An external, USB-based drive OR an internal drive WITH an enclosure.

Backup Methods

1. External hard drive / flash drive
2. Cloud storage provider (Google Drive, Dropbox, Onedrive, Box, SugarSync, etc.)

Backup Frequency

A full backup of your entire operating system should only be done once every 6 months to a year. This can be done with commercially-available or free products (see the links below for details). Incremental backups of only the most important files, however, should be performed once per week. This might include a Documents folder, Pictures, and Music. It is easiest to make weekly backups if those files and folders are kept neatly organized.

Macintosh 10.5+

1. In the menubar at the top left of the screen, click the Apple icon.
2. Select System Preferences. Under the "System" row, select "Time Machine".
3. Use the slider on the left to turn the service on and then select your backup drive on the right.
4. Schedule the times, dates, and types of information to be backed up.

Windows Vista

1. Open up the Control Panel and chose "Backup and Restore Center".
2. Chose to either Backup files or the system.
3. Follow the wizard to select a backup location, then schedule the times, dates, and types of information to be backed up.
NOTE: Vista Home Basic does not have this option. To Backup data use a safe third-party program such as BackUp Maker. The Helpdesk does not support this third party program. Programs and services offered by the Help Desk can be found at the Help Desk Service Catalog.

Windows 7

1. Click the Windows icon at the bottom left corner of the taskbar and select "Control Panel" in the Start menu.
2. Under "System and Security", click "Back up your computer". Click the "Set up backup ..." button.
3. Follow the wizard to select a backup location, then schedule the times, dates, and types of information to be backed up.

Windows 8

1. Hit the Windows key to get to the Start menu.
2. Start typing in "Windows 7 File Recovery".
3. Click on "Windows 7 File Recovery".
4. Click the "Set up backup ..." button.
5. Follow the wizard to select a backup location, then schedule the times, dates, and types of information to be backed up.


Related Links:

Norton Ghost Software
Clonezilla Software