Automated Backups

Backing up your data / PC is so easy these days so why aren’t you doing it? 🙂

The tools you need to backup your PC are already included in Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10. All you need to do is activate the built-in backup tools and this only entails telling Windows where to backup your stuff to! This gives a basic backup of all the folders that you select and should backup all of your user data (documents, photos, etc) It will do this automatically so you won’t have to think about it. However, there is a gotcha! It’s pointless backing up to your existing hard drive so you need an external USB hard drive permanently connected to your PC or preferrably a “network share”.

If you are using a desktop PC, a permanently connected USB External Hard drive is probably not a problem but if you have a laptop / tablet, this can be a stumbling block!

Many households these days have more than one PC / Laptop / Tablet device and this enables you to have a LAN (Local Area Network) which allows you to share documents and printers etc so the desktop PC can easily be used to have a permanently connected USB External Hard Drive. If your household only has one or more laptops / tablets, this can be a stumbling block but you can always use “The Cloud” to store your backups, in the case of Windows you would use Onedrive (ex Skydrive) or a USB Hard drive.

Belt and braces!

Another useful and free option from Microsoft is to use Robocopy along with scheduled tasks to run the backup automatically when you want. I prefer the command line version but it does come as GUI version if you prefer. I find that you have more control when using Robocopy but you can use the built-in backup in addition.

I would also recommend creating a disk image on a regular basis as this makes a complete backup of all of the System files and all the programs you have installed so that when your hard drive fails, it’s easy to fit a new hard drive and you would be up n running again very quickly. The only thing you would lose would be any changes made since the last disk image but if you’re backing up your personal data files, you might not lose anything.

To create a disk image, I recommend using Macrium Reflect or Acronis Trueimage. My current preferance is Macrium as the free version works great and is easy for novices to use, you can also schedule backups to run automatically, the paid for version offers extra features.

Get yourself an external USB hard drive to store your backups and just do it before it’s too late!

My current backup strategy may be questioned but I’m happy with it. I use the built-in Microsoft backup but also use  Robocopy as a scheduled task to back up user data every evening on my Windows PCs / laptops, it backs up to a CentOS file server with Samba shares which isn’t in the house!

During the night, the file server uses “rsync” to backup the Samba shares to an external TB Hard disk.

I also do weekly Disk images of each Windows box, using Macrium. I don’t bother with incremental or differential backups, each machine only takes about 15mins or less to do a full image!

Whats stopping you doing a backup now!