How To Back Up Your Computer or PC (or Regret Is The Most Expensive Thing)

If you run a business backing up your computer or PC is NOT an option; many businesses have learned this the hard way when they lost money, time, or even closed their doors due to data loss from a dead hard drive or a virus.
The average user should also learn how to back up their computer. Family photos are irreplaceable, iTunes libraries can be expensive, and important documents can be lost due to hard drive failure, viruses, or accidental deletion.
Backing up your PC can solve this annoying and often catastrophic event known as data loss.
There are many ways to back up a computer: you could use a flash drive or burn CDs and DVDs, use an off-site back up, or use an external hard drive among other choices.
Which one is the best, easiest, most reliable, and worry free (as in you don't have to remember to do anything)?
If you're like the average person or small business the answer lies in backing up your PC with a technique known as imaging.
The benefits: it can be automated, and it backs up the WHOLE hard drive (operating system, programs, files, settings) where most methods only back up certain types of files.
I can attest first hand to the virtues of imaging your computer; about 2 years ago my hard drive died. I went and bought a new hard drive, installed it, and restored my image.
Total time: about 2 hours, and I was up and running like nothing had ever happened with all programs, files, and settings in their original state.
I was using (and still am) a certain imaging/back up program to image the hard drive every other day, and restore the latest image if I need to. To find out more about it simply click the link that says Resources For Imaging a Hard Drive at the bottom after you're done reading.
Let's compare restoring an image back-up to restoring some other types of back-ups:

Step 1: Buy new hard drive and install it.


Step 2: Reinstall whatever version of Windows you had. Wait! You'll need a CD or DVD with the operating system to do that and many newer PCs didn't come with a recovery disc, they came with a recovery partition on the hard drive and you were supposed to burn the discs yourself.
Didn't do it?
Looks like you'll need to call a computer repair company and pay them $100 or more to reinstall Windows.
If you lucked out and did burn the discs or your computer actually came with them, you can reinstall Windows, and assuming everything goes right (sometimes it doesn't), you'll have a bootable computer in 1-3 hours.



Step 3: Next you'll need to make sure your drivers are installed. Don't know what a driver is? Not sure where to find the drivers? Don't know which ones you need?
Where'd that computer repair guy go....?

Step 4: Then it's time to re-install all your applications and programs. Go dig up all the install discs or download links and the serial keys. Can't find them? More trouble...
Re-install each program one by one. This usually isn't very hard for most programs, but can be tedious and VERY time consuming. Depending on how many applications you had, this can take several days.

Step 5: Ok, you've installed your programs and activated them. Now time to re-install the printer or any other peripheral device you may have. Where's those darn discs again...?

Step 6: Finally, you can restore your data once you find the right place to restore it to.
Not sure where it goes?
Better hit Google or call the computer repair company again.

Step 7: Finally, you can do the fun stuff like get your desktop picture and screen saver back to where they were along with all your other settings.


Hope you get the point to all this.
Backing up your computer with image backups is a heck of a lot easier.
Do yourself a favor and avoid the pain of this very probable scenario.
Though there are other solutions to imaging, I'm a fan of one particular solution, which is a program that can be automated (you don't need to remember anything) and used to copy your hard drive. It's less than $50; an external hard drive to store the PC back-up on can be had for less than $100. Just make sure to get one that is at least as big as your computer hard drive so it can hold the complete image.
It is easy to use and easy to automate and it has multiple options to set it to your needs. For more in-depth information, see the link in the resource box.
Get an external hard drive online, or at your nearest electronics or computer store.
If you're already a user of the said solution you can update to the latest version by visiting the link this spot in the original piece on my site; just click the link in resource box to get to it.
And if you have more than 1 PC, you can save a few bucks; see the paragraph directly above.
You'll sleep better knowing your kid's birthday pictures are safe, along with your Quick Books files, iTunes library, and all your other data and files.

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