Backing Up Your Important Files


In today’s digital age, backing up your important electronic files is absolutely crucial. In the event of damage to your computer, backup copies can help restore most or all of your original data.

Deciding what to back up is highly personal. Anything you cannot easily replace should be at the top of your list. Before you get started, make a checklist of files to back up. This will help you determine what to back up, and also give you a reference list in the event you need to retrieve a backed up file. Here are some file suggestions to get you started:

  • Bank records and other financial information

  • Digital photographs

  • Software you purchased and downloaded from the Internet

  • Music you purchased and downloaded from the Internet

  • Personal projects

  • Your e-mail address book

  • Your Internet Explorer favorites

Storing files on a CDs or DVDs is one of the most common ways to back up data. They are relatively inexpensive, and a large amount of data can be stored on a small disc. CDs hold approximately 700 MB of data (the equivalent of more than 400 floppy disks), while DVDs hold approximately 4.7 GB (the equivalent of approximately 7 CDs or 3,200 floppy disks).

Your computer must be equipped with a CD or DVD burner in order to create data discs. DVD burners can create both DVDs and CDs, but CD burners can only create CDs. The process of creating the disc varies depending on your computer’s operating system (i.e. Windows XP, Mac10). Consult the instruction manual for your computer or CD/DVD drive for more information.

Once you’ve completed the backup process, store discs in a cool, dry location away from the computer itself. Keep them away from bright light, and make your discs are kept vertically in protective cases labeled with their contents. Since the lifespan of your discs will depend on their brand, quality and chemical makeup, replace CD and DVD copies as appropriate, generally every couple of years.

“I strongly recommend to people that they make backing up of their important files at least a monthly habit, so they’ll be well prepared in the event of a crisis to their computer or home,” said Gabriel Scott Dean, Socket technical support lead. “Contact your local computer store to make sure your computer has what it needs and ask them about other data storage options like an external hard drive.”