Your data is what makes your computer valuable to you. Sure, you might have an incredible machine, but it is the data on it that makes it important. That is what makes your computer uniquely yours. What if something were to happen to your data? There are many dangers that threaten your data. System crashes, physical hard drive crashes, power surges, theft, fire.
If you experience data loss, there are options to get that data back. Like using recovery software or hiring a data recovery or disaster recovery company. But these processes can be exceedingly time-consuming and even more money-consuming.
The best way to ensure your data is safe and secure is to keep good backups. The more backups the better. As long as you have your data stored in some medium, be it CD-ROM, key drive, external hard-drive, whatever, other than your hard drive, nothing that happens to your main CPU can damage it.
Most people know the importance of having good backups. But most computer users still don’t backup most of their files. Why? Because they think it is expensive, or that it will take up too much of their time. Or they might even have backup software that makes it quite easy, but they just don’t think to run it as often as they should.
Automatic Backup Software
One of the best backup resources for computer users is automatic backup software. Automatic backup software takes on the task of backing up your data all by itself. Once you’ve set up the software an automatic backup program will run its routines automatically, no matter if you remember it or not or are even anywhere near the computer. Some automatic backup software will run even if you aren’t logged into your machine!
When you initially program your automatic backup software, you will inform it of what data it is that you want backed up and where you want to back it up at. For most automatic backup software it is easiest to use an external hard drive or a network hard drive to move the data onto, however you can use other backup media as well, depending on the software you use.
Most automatic backup software these days also uses a system known as differential backup. When you program your software, you will inform it of all the folders holding files which you deem as important and want to have backed up. When the software runs its automatic backup routine, it will backup all the files in these folders and put them onto your backup medium.
Differential backup makes this process easier and smoother, requiring less of your computer’s resources. If you have a lot of files, it can be very draining on the computer to backup every single file every day, when the vast majority of these files have already been backed up, and don’t need to be backed up again after the first time.
With differential backup, the software is able to recognize which files have been added or modified since its last backup by checking with the software already in storage. It will then only backup those files which need to be backed up, while ignoring files that have already been backed up.
Acquiring Automatic Backup Software
Most backup software will include automatic backup routines (as it is one of the more convenient and useful functions of backup software). However, not all backup software will include it. If you are looking to purchase or download some free backup software, you will want to make sure that it runs automatic backup.
Backup software isn’t terribly expensive. For personal users it generally runs somewhere in the range of $50 – $100 for top quality software (such as Genie Backup Manager or Iomega Automatic Backup). You can also get non name-brand automatic backup software cheaper that might have less special features but will still get the job done.
Many times backup media will include software that runs automatic backup routines. If you are in the market to buy a new system to store your backup data on, such as an external hard drive, you might want to look and see if any offer free automatic backup software with the unit.
Online backup services oftentimes include automatic backup software that is keyed to uploading your backup files to their server. As online backup services are still a somewhat new and growing field, there are few backup programs on the market right now that can handle them, unless the software comes directly from the service itself.
If you already own a backup medium, it is vital to make sure the backup software you purchase is compatible with it. With most name brand software compatibility isn’t a major concern, however it is always important to check, especially if you are going for a cheaper option.
If you are looking to improve your backup without buying anything at all, there are even free automatic backup software programs out there on the World Wide Web.
In summary, if you are looking for automatic backup software for your computer, the primary things you need to look at are:
1. Does the software actually include automatic backup?
2. Does the software offer differential backup?
3. Is the software compatible with my computer? (Can my computer run it?)
4. Is the software compatible with my chosen backup medium? (CD, DVD, Networked Computer, FTP Online Drive, etc.)
5. Can I afford the software?
Asking these questions while choosing your automatic backup software should help you make the right choices and ensure that you get the best bang for your buck. Backup is important, and you want to make sure that you do it properly without spending too much money.