Back up! No, this is not a bumper sticker warning you are following too closely. It is great advice warning you to safeguard your electronic data. Here’s three different ways to back up your information you keep stored on your hard drive:
Online Back-Up Services (Recommended)
There are many different places on-line that will upload your information and store it on their servers for a low monthly cost. This is recommended because back-ups can be done automatically, and if you lose your electronic data for reasons such as a fire or a flood, you will still have your back up available to you. In addition, this method is the least bulky, and you can find it easier when you need it. Lorie Marrero, author of The Clutter Diet, recommends www.carbonite.com and www.mozy.com in addition to the free services of Microsoft including Windows Live Photo Gallery and SkyDrive.
External Hard Drive
You can purchase an external hard drive to back up your electronic data. Usually, you install some software and plug the drive into a USB port, and copy data onto it from there. Some of the software that comes with it allows for automatic back-ups. Beware, however, that for automatic back-ups, you would have to keep the device plugged into your computer, and after time, wear and tear can make it difficult to retrieve the data from the device.
This is most useful for people who don’t really have a computer, people who don’t have too many files, and people who don’t save a lot to their hard drive regularly because it’s so easy to carry it, use it in different computers, and store it. Keep in mind, it is also easy to lose it, and there are limits to the memory available, so it’s not ideal for someone who has a lot of images and audio.