You have good reason to be concerned. Computers aren’t fail-safe. Luckily, there are some tools that you can use to backup or store important files like your child’s essays.
I personally use two or three sources for my important files just in case one fails. One can never be too safe, right? Read on to discover my three methods for backing up valuable computer files.
Jump drives, also known as flash drives or thumb drives, are a mini storage device. They plug into a USB port on a computer.
Jump drives come in a variety of storage capacities from 256 MB to 32 GB. We use 4 GB and 8 GB around our house but I’m itching to get some of the bigger ones. By the way, if you aren’t familiar with storage space terms, check out Data Storage Conversion Table.
Jump drives are easy-to-use. Just plug them into your computer and wait a minute or two for the drive and your computer to communicate with each other.
I usually select the last option which is Open folder to view files. This will open a window which shows the files on your jump drive.
Now you just click and drag files such as documents, music and pictures from your computer to this open window. It will copy them over to the drive. Simple.
What if your child makes changes to a paper he is working on? He should save the changes. To do so, follow the same procedure as I described above. You should be given the option to replace the old file with the new one. If you want to save both files, you can. One just has to be named slightly differently.
When you are done with the jump drive, always remember to safely eject it from your computer. Some drives will ask you to do this in a special way by clicking on an icon in the lower right corner of your computer. Others just require you to close the drive’s window on your computer. Check out the instructions it came with. You can mess up your computer or the drive if you don’t do it properly.
My favorite brand of jump drive is SanDisk. It has been the most reliable for us. It’s also easy-to-use.
You can buy SanDisk drives on Amazon for a great price.
Online storage is another convenient place to save computer files. It’s known as “saving to the cloud”. What I like about it is that if you have a natural disaster at your house, you still have access to them. You can get to them from any other computer or even on a smartphone. Neat, huh?
It’s not 100% safe though. Hackers can break into your account. Servers can crash. Natural disasters can destroy the computers your stuff is saved on. But it is still a good way to save your files someplace other than your own house.
There are two options available for storing files online for free. One is Windows Skydrive and the other is Amazon’s Cloud Drive.
To get access to Skydrive, you need to sign up for a Hotmail or Live email account. It doesn’t matter which one you use. Once you have an email account, you just have to sign into it and you’ll find SkyDrive at the top.
Once in Skydrive, you can create folders for your files to organize them. You can keep your files private or share them with others on the web. It’s really nice.
Amazon’s online storage feature is called Cloud Drive. This is where your mp3 downloads are stored when you buy music from Amazon.
Like Skydrive, you can create folders for your files in Cloud Drive. I personally found the layout of Cloud Drive to be a little simpler than Skydrive.
Cloud Drive currently offers 5 GB of free storage. You can purchase more storage space with one of their plans if you want to backup larger amounts of data.
Click here for more information.
External Hard Drives
My favorite way to backup my PC and save important data is to use an external hard drive.
I have a Western Digital My Book Essential which automatically backs up my data. When I got it, all I had to do was plug it in to my PC and install it. Now it saves everything I do on my PC for me and I don’t have to lift a finger. Very nice.
If I need to retrieve anything from my Western Digital drive, I just go to Start > Computer, find the drive and look for the files that I want.
External hard drives hold a great deal more data than jump drives do. Mine holds 500 GB. They come in a variety of capacities including 750 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB sizes.
You can save and share data between computers too. Simply unplug the drive from one PC and plug it in to the other. Then just open up the drive and click and drag from the drive to your computer or vice versa.
There are typically two types of hard drives available: standard and portable. Both work equally well. You can pick one based on your needs.
You can buy Western Digital external hard drives on Amazon in both the standard variety and …