No matter how tech savvy you are, there are certain things every one of us has to deal with when using a computer—and we don’t always deal with them in the most efficient ways. Here are Some things that everyone can (and should) learn to keep their computer fast, safe, and easy to use.
Here at SinnovationNG, we take a lot of the simpler stuff for granted: how to avoid viruses, use keyboard shortcuts, or even keep your data backed up. Even if you’ve mastered all of these tricks (and there’s a good chance you haven’t), you may want to send this along to some of your less computer-savvy friends. After all, the more they know how to do, the less they’ll call you for help. If you’re looking for some more advanced tricks, we’ve got them for you here.
We all know we should back up our computers, but it’s always one of those things that you’ll set up “one day”. Setting up a backup only takes minutes, though, so you can do it right now and forget about it until you need it—and when you do need it, you’ll be glad you set it up. If you’re just backing up to an external drive, you can just use the simple tools built in to your computer, like Windows Backup or Apple’s Time Machine. However, that’ll only keep you safe if your computer fails. If you lose your home in a fire, get all your gear stolen, or experience any other kind of disaster (God forbid), you’ll have lost all those important documents, family photos, and other files forever. So, we recommend using a service like CrashPlan to back up your computer online. That way, it can back up no matter where you are, and that data will be safe no matter what happens to your hardware.
When your computer’s hard drive fails, it can be gut-wrenching. At best, maybe you lost a really important presentation you were working on. At worst, maybe you’ve lost every photo of your kid’s childhood. Sometimes, you can recover that data yourself—but often, it’s gone forever (unless you want to pay a lot of money to get it back). Every hard drive fails one day. Backup service Backblaze says 50% fail after only four years. Save yourself the trouble and start backing up your computer now.
You Might Also Want to Know How to Recover Data When Your Hard Drive Goes Belly Up
One Day, Your Hard Drive Will Fail
It’s my firm belief that everyone will experience this at least once in their life. Maybe you accidentally erase your data, maybe you lose your computer, or maybe your hard drive just dies. It’s inevitable: one day you will lose all of your data. Many of you have probably already experienced this already. And those of you that haven’t…well, you just haven’t yet.
It’s a scary thought, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve experienced at least three catastrophic data losses in the past few years, but none of them were particularly stressful, because I was able to restore from a backup and keep on going.
Backing Up Isn’t Just for Tech Geeks Anymore
What shocks me the most about these hard drive failures is that every single person I talk to—everyone—admits that they knew they should have been backing up. They just weren’t. They know what backup means, and they even know what an external hard drive is. They might even have one. They just seem to think they can “do it tomorrow” and keep pushing it back until one day, their hard drive inevitably craps out.
(If you’ve never heard of backups before, then I apologize for the slightly bitter and condescending tone of this rant. However, you should still heed these warnings.)
Everyone has something to lose. Maybe it’s family photos, maybe it’s important work materials, maybe it’s your finely crafted resume you worked so hard on. Backing up isn’t just for computer geeks with lots of complex data—it’s something each and every one of us needs.
Backing Up Is Easy: Just Set It and Forget It
So now you know you should back up. All that’s left is to actually do it. Luckily, we have guides just for you. You have two choices when it comes to backup. You can:
- Back up to the internet (recommended) with a program like Crashplan or Backblaze. This is preferred. It’s very easy to set up, and ensures that your data is kept safe even if your house catches fire or gets burgled. (And if you have a lot of data, they can send you a hard drive for the initial backup).
- Back up to an external drive with Windows 7 Backup, Windows 8’s File History, or OS X’s incredibly easy-to-use Time Machine. You can also back up to an external drive with Crashplan, as described above. External drives are okay, but this method won’t protect you in case of fire or theft. If you use an external drive, you should still back up your most important files to an online service like Dropbox, if they don’t take up too much space. (Make sure you use a quality external drive, too.)
Check out the guides linked above for instructions on how to set up each method. Heck, it’s even a good idea to have multiple backups if you really want to keep that data safe. But at least start with one.
Don’t Wait Another Day, Do It Today
Convinced yet? If so, stop whatever you’re doing right now and put it on your to-do list. Got a free hour tonight? Do it tonight. Got a bit of free time this weekend? Skip the movies and set your first backup. The movies will still be there next weekend. This is not something you can afford to keep pushing back.
Most importantly, pass it on. If you already have a backup—or if you’re officially planning to do it soon—let your friends know how important it is and how easy it is. If you don’t, you’ll have to hear about it the next time they lose something important.