What the Tech: Backing up your computer or phone is easy … and it could be a lifesaver – Hawaii News Now

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – The chance that something could happen to your computer or your phone isn’t enormous, but it happens every day.
And when it does, unless you’ve backed up your computer, when all of those files disappear due to an accident or malware, all of those pictures, videos, music, and file are lost. Forever.
Backing up a computer or phone isn’t as difficult as it sounds. It could be, but there are easy and relatively inexpensive ways to do it. There’s a difference between backing up your files and storing data.
A backup means if something were to happen, you could load the backup onto a new computer where everything works as it does now.
Data storage means you save copies of the photos and files in a cloud service. If something happens to your computer those files are saved but programs and any other things on your computer won’t be retrievable.
The first option is also the easiest. It’s a backup service like Carbonite. This annual subscription of about $100-$120 a year backs up everything on a computer. It does this continually as you add photos, videos, and other files. The backup is created and updated on the fly as you work.
You can also set Carbonite to backup the computer daily when you’re not using it, such as when you’re asleep. The files are made available on any computer or device using the Carbonite app. Backing up or making copies of the data is cheaper.
Dropbox, Windows, Amazon, Apple, and Google offer free storage plans.
Most of the free plans only include about 5GB of data storage so you’ll need to pay a monthly or annual fee to get enough storage for an entire computer.
Another option is to purchase a portable hard drive and save the files there. Splurge on 4TB or more for enough room for all of your hard drives. You can move files there manually but some external drives include software that backs up files in the background and overnight. It’ll take a long time to save all of the files.
Losing your hard drives and everything on them can happen because of an accident such as a fire or flood. You could accidentally delete the files or the hard drive crashes. Older computers have spinning hard drives which can, and do lock up where you can’t retrieve any files. You can pay a tech to try and recover them, but it doesn’t always work and it’s often expensive.
Ransomware is another culprit. A cyber-criminal installs a program on the computer that encrypts all files until you pay a ransom. This happens frequently. According to a study, about 30% of computers are already infected with some type of malware or virus that can kill the computer or encrypt the files.
If you choose to backup to a portable hard drive it’s important to unplug it from the computer after the backup is complete. If malware is installed on the machine, it’ll encrypt all of the hard drives connected to the computer. So unplug the hard drive and store it somewhere safe. You might even want to store it in a safe deposit box or another location to protect it from a fire or flood.
Is it an over-reaction? Not at all. We’ve got a lifetime of memories and files stored on these computers. Don’t find yourself wishing you’d saved them. The best time to back up a hard drive is ALWAYS before the hard drive dies. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that until it is too late.
Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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