7 Backup Strategies for Your Data, Multimedia, and System Files
By Lincoln Spector
Your hard drive might crash. Thieves might steal your laptop at a café. You might realize on Friday that you desperately need the now-departed Wednesday version of an important document that you significantly altered on Thursday.
At times like these, having a secure, up-to-date backup of your hard drive can be a lifesaver. Here are seven practical strategies, including using USB storage, backing up via the Internet or through your local network, backing up Windows itself, and preserving huge media files like songs and videos.
What to Back Up
Your hard drive may contain hundreds of thousands of files. Many of them should be backed up every day, others only occasionally, and still others–including temp files, the hibernation file (hiberfil.sys), and your browser cache–not at all. Let’s look at the different kinds of files individually.
Your documents: You should back up your word processing files, spreadsheets, and similar documents every day. Any basic backup program can perform incremental backups, in which the program copies only the files that have changed since the most recent previous backup. (Good backup programs also perform versioning; that is, they keep several iterations of the same file on hand and enable you to choose which version to restore.)
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