Guidelines for Backing Up Your Data

A computer crash, hard drive failure or a virus can wipe out everything on your computer. Therefore, it is critical to backup your system so that you can restore your files if any disaster occurs. You should back up regularly and back up often (at least once a week).

  1. Decide what to back up. It is not necessary to back up all the files on your computer. Instead, you should back up anything you cannot replace easily. Some basic files to include are important documents, email messages, your email address book, calendar, and any favorites or bookmarks.
  2. Organize your data files. To easily back up your computer, all your files should be stored in easy-to-find locations.
  3. Decide where to store your backup copies. Having copies on your hard drive is not enough. An external drive such as a zip drive or hard disk drive, CD, DVD, or USB Flash Drive is usually your best option.
  4. Set up a schedule for regular backups. The easiest way to do this is to set up an automatic backup schedule in Windows or Apple's Time Machine.
  5. Back up your data regularly and often.You should back up your data and documents at least once a week.
  6. Make manual backup copies of important documents while you are working on them. This helps ensure that you can save time by recovering your most recent draft and is as simply as clicking copying and pasting the file to a disk or external hard drive.
  7. Make more than one copy and keep them in separate locations. Backup media can also fail; it is a good practice to keep a second copy.
  8. You may want to consider using a Cloud based storage option.
    Check out the Top Ten Best Cloud Storage Companies.
  9. For additional information, see PCWorld's
    Get in a Good Habit: Back Up Your Data.

This page was last updated on June 12, 2012.


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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Copyright © 2014, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved