Back Up Your Computer
With antivirus protection, your chances of losing your files to damaging malware are greatly reduced. However, no product offers 100% security; therefore, it is a good idea to back up your files on an external source. Windows 7 and Mac Operating Systems do come with an internal backup system, but this will not help you if your computer is lost, damaged or stolen. For externally backing up your files, there are two basic options for home users: external hard drives or online backup services.
External Hard Drives
You can purchase an external hard drive and copy the contents of your computer to it. The initial backup could take several hours, so you will need to select a period of time where you do not need access to your computer. Running the backup overnight usually works best. Follow-up backups should be conducted on a regular basis, but will not take as long because the drive will only need to copy your most recent files.
Western Digital, Iomega and Seagate produce popular external hard drives. Conduct some research on which product best suits your storage needs, or ask a computer sales representative for recommendations.
One drawback, compared to online backup services, is that your external hard drive can be lost, damaged or stolen just as your computer might be. Therefore, it is important to keep your drive in a secure location when not in use.
Online Backup Services
You can also back up your files to one of the online backup services like Mozy, Carbonite or Box, and your files will always be accessible to you. The amount of storage space provided by these sites varies and you may have to pay a monthly or yearly fee for adequate storage. Again, do your research as these services are constantly changing and offer varying features.
One drawback to online backup services is that the initial backup can be slow and may even take days to upload if you have a large amount of files. However, subsequent backups should not take as long.