Backup is the most
important computer term you should know.
A backup is a copy of one or more
as an alternate in case the original data is lost or becomes
unusable. For example, you may save several copies of a research
paper on your hard drive as backup files incase you decide to use a
previous revision. Better yet, you could save the backups to a USB
which would also protect the files if the
Hard drives are meant to run for many years without crashing. But
just like all electronic devices, they are not immune to problems.
Because they are not
devices, hard drives rely on moving parts to access data, which can
malfunction and cause your data to become unrecoverable. If you need
proof of how fragile hard drives really are, go to your local
computer store and have someone show you an open hard drive. When
you realize all your data is stored in such a small, delicate
device, you may have a new understanding of why you need to backup
But it's not just hardware malfunctions you have to worry about.
Software corruption can also damage your files.
structures can become damaged and cause entire folders to disappear.
Files can be mistakenly deleted or corrupted by
other software attacks. Program installation conflicts can make
applications or files unusable. There are unfortunately many ways
for your data to become damaged or disappear.
That is why it is so important to backup your data. Most
people don't realize the importance of having a backup until it is
too late. Of course, when you have lost years of photos, school
papers, business documents, e-mail archives, music, movies, or any
other data that you cannot recover, the importance of having a
backup becomes all too real.
So how do you backup your data? The best way is to use an external
device, such as an
external hard drive, flash memory device, or even another
computer. You can also create permanent backups using
media, such as
DVD-R discs. Backing up individual folders and files is as easy
copying them from the source media (your computer's hard disk) to
the destination (an external hard drive). If you want to backup your
entire system or would like to have regular backups automatically
performed, you can use backup software that will backup your data
for you. Many programs are available for both Mac and Windows that
provide automatic backups and system restore capabilities.
If you have not yet backed up your hard drive, now is a good time to
do so. It's much better to back up your data now than once it is too