(Back to Home page)
This is information on various ways to back up one's computer files. If one has many years of files and personal research on their computer, it would be terrible to lose all that information if one's computer suddenly and unexpectedly breaks down, and if the hard drive cannot be fixed.
There are different things that can be done. Online file storage or virtual file storage is becoming popular. Some are free for certain features, while others have a monthly or annual fee. There appears to be more competition as time goes on, and more features, so it's hard to keep up with it all.
There's also the portable USB flash drive file storage units and portable memory cards that can backup your files for varying prices, depending upon how much storage you want. The drives are about 2-3 inches long and can be added to a keychain. The memory cards look something like diskettes.
A CD can also be used to back up at least part of your pc files, if you have a Read/Write CD and not a Read only one - CD-RW. And you can copy files from your CD disc to a USB flash drive, and vice versa for storage purposes also.
An example of these can be seen at howstuffworks.com if you click here and scroll towards the bottom of the page. It will show you the type, storage size and prices.
The flash drives can be transported wherever you go, password protected, and plugged into a pc with the right sized USB port located either in the pc or certain keyboards. Or the memory cards inserted something like a diskette. They should be available at local computer stores and at online computer stores.
Then there's the FTP (file transfer protocol) software that can be used to transfer or download files from an internet server to a computer by uploading and downloading files. This capability is seen on control panels for websites, but the software is also available for people without websites.
FTP or file transfer protocol is like a public file accessibility between websites and computers for downloading files. But it can also be restricted just to the ones you want to allow access to, rather than being accessible to everyone on the internet. An FTP Client is software to transfer files back-and-forth between two computers over the Internet. Here's info. on how web servers work, click here.
Here's info. on how the internet interacts with your computer, click here.
There might also be some security concerns if one does public files on the internet, but I'm not an expert at this. Some might have an encryption, or password protection, or maybe SSL (secure socket layer) protection showing https on the site page instead of http, while others might not be as secure. When it comes to protection against viruses and such, you would have to make sure your own computer is protected, the same as you would when using the internet. (http://www.download.com should have a section about this if you do a search.)
If you have more than one computer, you can send copies of files from each as a backup. If they were both in the same place, though, and if there was a fire, flood, severe storm, etc., and both were lost, this would not be sufficient as a back-up for more important files, but better than nothing.
That's where the USB flash drives and/or online storage sites would come in handy. If one doesn't like the idea of storing one's personal files on another company's servers, then maybe the USB flash drive would be more appealing. If you had one drive in one location, and another copy in a separate location, that would probably work best in emergency cases.
The Go To My PC concept relates more to being able to remotely view and access one's files wherever one is, but that's not a back-up system. (http://www.howstuffworks.com has info. on remote pc access (click here), also known as VPN or virtual private network access. LAN would mean local area network for communication purposes.)
There are also many computers with backup software that allows them to backup files on the same computer hard drive. This is similar to what your computer will automatically do with some registry and system files. This would be good for minor types of computer repairs where it can be rebooted and repaired. But if the whole computer and hard drive goes down and can't be retrieved, then one of the other options would be better to have.
To find out if your computer has this backup software, you can click open the My Computer icon, then do a right mouse click on the C drive icon. Highlight properties. Then go to the Tools tab. There should be a button that says Backup or something similar. For each computer and different software, the instructions might be somewhat different. If you click the Backup button, it will show you if the software is loaded to enable this. Or it will say if you need to get the Windows software CD for your computer, search for it and load it. If it's not on the CD, you might have to check with a computer store about it if you want this option.
From techcrunch.com - click there to see their comparison of 13 online storage sites, and there are probably a good number of others if one searches the internet. Their features might have changed since they did the comparison. They have a link to this site at flickr.com:
From flickr.com - click there to see a comparison chart for 14 online storage sites that include was techcrunch.com was speaking of. Some of their features might have changed since this chart was made, so the best thing to do is check the websites for details on any you are interested in. The list includes streamload.com now called http://www.mediamax.com, and http://www.omnidrive.com among several others.
Checking out the security features and space allowances might help you decide. They are on someone else's servers, though, so it's not the same as having your own personal storage diskettes, or having it on another computer of your own, etc. So be careful what you store in places like this.
Some people will also use web based mailboxes to store certain files. This would be on a separate server from one's own computer. So if your computer goes down and you lose your files, the web mailbox would still have the emails in it. The only time they might get transferred to your computer is if you download them to your computer through your IE / Internet Explorer browser or the Mozilla Thunderbird icon. Mozilla is set up similarly to the IE format for downloading email.
This is probably about the same as an online file storage system's server, except that it would be harder to mail extra large files there, it would have to be in email format and email folders, and so it would be more restrictive. But for smaller reference files and notes, this would work out. It's good to have more than one email box for this reason as well, so if one mailbox server goes down, you can access the mail from the other one. If you have a forwarding feature, this will allow the same mail to be copied to more than one mailbox.
There are web host companies that offer free website space, and those that encourage people to upload photos. This would be especially good as a way to backup important family photos at a separate location, in case the original ones get destroyed in a weather disaster. There are some hosting companies that will have their servers in the same location, while others might have the information backed up on servers at a separate location just in case a disaster occurs. If this information isn't available when you sign up, you can contact them and ask them what they do for backup storage.
If you want to know how much space your files are taking up on your computer, try going to one of your desktop file folders and do a right mouse click. Then click properties and it should show you the amount of storage that's being taken up to store files in that particular file. If you add up all you have stored in folders, you'll have an idea on what your needs are for seeking out a file storage system.
To check the main C drive of your computer for file space, click the My Computer icon on your desktop. If it's not there, go to the Start window and open that, and it should be there. Then do a right mouse click on the C drive icon and click "properties". This should show you how much space has been used on your computer and how much is left.
You can do the same for the Windows files by going to C drive, then right mouse clicking the Windows folder. This should show you how much space is used up and how many files you have in the Windows section. You can do the same for the Program folder and others.
(Home page http://www.soulwellmall.com, click here.)