Back Up Your Data!

Drives Photo by doegox

I keep all my lessons, resources, and ideas on my laptop. However, I’ve already had one crash and, years later, am still discovering things that are missing. I don’t ever want to go through the process of re–creating again, so I’ve invested in multiple backup systems. You should too!

With a holiday break coming up, here are three simple and cheap methods you can implement to keep your files safe.

1. Dropbox

This free service makes copies of your files, and puts them on Then, it downloads them to any other computers your authorize. If you work on one computer at home and another at school, Dropbox will constantly upload and download the files you’re working on, keeping both computers synced up.

It also serves as a simple backup method, since if one of your computers dies, you can download your files from Dropbox.

Dropbox is easy and free, but limits your storage – so I pick only the essentials, no movies, songs, or other large files go to Dropbox. If you love it, you can upgrade to a paid account.

Dropbox also offers ways to share files with a team, creating a public folder that’s great for collaborating with colleagues.

Try it out for free and I’ll get a little extra space in my account.

2. External Hard Drive & Backup Software

I recently bought an external hard drive that is large enough to backup my entire laptop’s hard drive four times over. It cost less than $100.

The problem is remembering to consistently backup and deciding what to backup.

If you have a Mac, there’s a fantastic utility built right in called Time Machine. It will automatically make hourly backups whenever your hard drive is plugged in. Further, it backs up files in an intelligent way, only copying over changed files. Every night, I plug in my laptop and let Time Machine go to work.

For PC users Acronis is a powerful backup utility.

3. Full Online Backups

The latest addition to my backups arsenal is Backblaze, a service that costs just $5 a month, but stores a full backup of my computer online. This way, if someone breaks in and steals my laptop and external drive, I still have a full backup offsite.

This is definitely the final safety-net, since retrieving all my data will require mailing them a hard drive, but I feel great knowing that everything is safe somewhere other than my own home.

With these three options, I have convenient, complete, and redundant backups of all of my data.