Backing up your computer

A backup is a copy of a file that is stored in a separate location from the original. Backing up files on your computer helps to protect them from being permanently lost or changed in the event of a virus attack. Also, you can rely on the backup data to recover files when accidents happen.

Important files to backup

  • Emails
  • Class related documents
  • Important departmental documents
  • Personal pictures
  • Personal music collections
  • Software drivers and patches you download
  • Personalized settings
  • Web browser bookmarks

Common options for backup

Type
Pros
Cons
Other Information
External Hard Drive
  • Relatively inexpensive.
  • Most come pre-packaged with backup software.
  • Smaller and more easily portable.
  • Have to manually use it as a backup if not always plugged into the computer.
Online File Storage
  • Either free or very inexpensive.
  • Allows for files to be shared from device-to-device.
  • Easy access from anywhere.
  • Less storage space compared to offline storage.
  • Some will have limits on the type of files you can backup.
  • Backup is only as fast as your network connection.
USB Flash Drives
  • Easily portable and relatively inexpensive.
  • Many come equipped with backup software.
  • Less storage space compared to external hard drive.
  • Easy to lose.
CDs and DVDs
  • Inexpensive way to create extra copies of important files.
  • Limited space for large amounts of data.
  • Have to manually use it as a backup because it isn’t an automatic procedure.

Backup interval

How often you back up your files depends on the number of files you create or edit and how often you access them. If you use your computer frequently and save a lot of files, then back them up often. You can also schedule an automatic backup so you do not have to manually backup files. You can choose to have your files backed up daily, weekly or monthly. Also, you can always backup manually between the automatic backups.

Need help?

Contact the HelpDesk by

  • Calling us at (765) 658-4294.
  • Emailing us at HelpDesk@depauw.edu.
  • Visiting us on the lower level of the Student Union Building during our regular office hours of Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Updated: 4/17/2017