The eight year old computer you fixed last year will not turn on. No lights, no sound, no nothing! I know it is time to get a new one. We did backup the computer last year so I know my pictures are safe. I just want you to check it out.
Cathy in North Penn, PA
I’m glad we backed up the computer because you are right, the computer is dead. Unfortunately you have lost any of the newer pictures that you have placed on your computer since the last backup. Check out backup #1 in the paragraphs below for the easiest backup system I have ever found. Read about the other backup options too!
Backup #1: I have been introducing my clients to the the Clickfree external drive. Plug one of these drives into your computer. It will install and startup a small backup program. It will backup all your documents, pictures and Outlook email files to the external drive. Next time you use the program, it will backup only the changes. I tested the restore feature of Clickfree by restoring the data from my master computer to an older computer and it worked perfectly! Clickfree has my vote and I use it once a week. There is even a version which can backup more than one computer on the same backup drive.
Backup #2: Backup the entire operating system using Image software. An image is a snapshop picture of your computer taken at the present time. The image includes the operating system and all the software installed on the computer as well as the data. Generally a restored image can only work on the computer on which it was created. Windows 7 comes with imaging software or you can get open source version or purchase software from a store (Acronis and others). The only one I have used and swear by is Acronis True Image. I suggest to my clients that I log into their computer periodically and perform an Acronis Update. The first time you use the software it takes about 15 minutes to setup including the installation time. Plan to leave your computer alone during the backup time which may take up to 2 hours for an older machine.
Backup 3: Backup important files and have access to them through the cloud. I use Dropbox. It allows me to easily upload files to the cloud and retrieve them on other computers. I backup my Quickbooks and the prep files for the websites I am actively working on. When I save my files to the dropbox folder, I am actually saving files both to my computer and to the cloud.
In summary I have presented three different backup options including Clickfree for all your documents and pictures, Acronis to image your computer to backup the Operating System and all files, and Dropbox to backup individual files to share between computers. If you had to do only one, I would say Clickfree!