How important is it to back up my files? How should I go about this?

Q: How important is it to back up my files? How should I go about this?

As long as your computer contains data found nowhere else, creating a backup is a crucial step needed to ensure that you won’t be left out to dry when a hard drive fails. Hard drive failures are common in old and new computers alike, and are sometimes recognizable by audible symptoms, such as a new clicking noise emanating from the machine. Errors booting into the operating system or retrieving certain files are other symptoms which often point to a corrupted or failing hard drive.

Backups can be made to a local source, such as an external hard drive connected via USB port, or through an online backup service which uploads your data to secure off-site servers.

Windows Backup is a built-in and simple back-up program available on machines running Windows Vista or higher. It allows you to select a device to save to (such as a blank DVD or an external hard drive), decide which areas of the computer to backup, and schedule times to save your files. Another free utility is Cobian Backup, which can be set up to do periodic full or incremental back-ups of your data.  However, the interface isn’t especially user-friendly, so we recommend it be set up by advanced users.

Finally, if you wish to use an online service to backup for files, Mozy provides personal and business backups for low monthly rates. Explore their website to decide which backup option works best for you.

For assistance creating backups of your important files, or for a diagnosis to see if the hard drive on a “dead” machine still contains data, contact Dr. Networking for more information.

For expanded resources and more tech-tips, “like” our page on Facebook. Email your questions to

By Elizabeth Ellsworth


“When it comes to saving rainforests, there’s no time for computer meltdowns!”

— Dominick A. DellaSala, Ph.D, President, Chief Scientist, Editor and Primary Author of Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World (, Geos Institute, 84 Fourth Street, Ashland, Oregon, 97520.

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Shields Bialasik

Hi, I am Shields. I am the creator or LocalsGuide. The mission or my company is to provide a positive media platform for my community which in turn makes it stronger and more resilient. I hope you will enjoy and feel inspired to start your own LocalsGuide in your town or community.

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