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Strategies For Backing Up Your Computer Data

[Continued from Managing Data On Your Home Computers.]

In this article, we look at some possible strategies to backup data on your home computers.

1. Same PC, same harddisk, backup data from one partition to another.
This gives you protection against some kinds of harddisk problems where the data on one partition goes bad, while others are intact. However, if you have a general harddisk failure or if the PC crashes with harddisk corruption, you may lose all the data.

2. Same PC, backup data from one harddisk to another.
This is better than the previous option. Even if one of your harddisk has a general failure, you would have a backup of its data on another harddisk. However, if the PC crashes and makes both harddisks inaccessible, you would have to take the harddisks out and put them on another computer and try to recover your data.

3. Different PCs, backup from harddisk of one PC to harddisk of another.
This gives you protection against data loss if one of the PCs goes bad, since a copy exists on another PC. If you wanted to manage your backups on PCs without using any kind of external media, this is one of your best options.

4. Backup on CDs or DVDs
If you wanted to backup some critical data from time to time and store it separately, then using CDs or DVDs would work well. But this is not a very efficient way for day to day backup for a large amount of data.

5. Backup on external harddisk (e.g. with USB interface)
This is a very popular method and gives you the best features of options (2) and (3). If your PC crashes, then you can simply connect the external hard disk to another PC and you can access your backed up data instantly. This also makes your data very “portable,” because the external hard disk is easy to move around.

6. Backup on USB pen-drives.
This is a good option for small amounts of data. It is similar to option (5).

7. Backup on an networked harddisk.
What if your external harddisk could be accessed on the network and did not have to be plugged in directly to your computer? Clearly, this is a better option than (5) if you want the disk to be accessible from all your computers. The only downside to this is that your data speeds would be limited by the speed of your network. This would be okay for most of your day to day applications, except some like video editing where it might be better to have the hard disk connected directly to your PC. But for the bulk of your data, having your hard disk accessible on your network — a Network Attached Storage (NAS) Disk, as it is called — is by far the best option.

Read more about one such NAS storage device in this post, and some tips on backing up on a NAS disk in this post.

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