Protect What is Precious to You

What will happen to you if, one day, your computer doesn’t start? What would happen if it were destroyed by fire or stolen? While it’s easy to replace a computer it’s often impossible to replace the photos, documents and other information you have stored on it.

In short, the more information you store on your computer the more you have at risk if your computer fails. Because of this it is important to keep a backup of your important photos and documents so you can recover them if they are lost.
In future issues we’ll look at how you can backup your important files to an online service using your internet connection. However, even without subscribing to such a service it is possible to create your own personal backup of important files.
To do this you should store a duplicate of your important files on a disk which you can remove from your computer and store somewhere safe. This kind of disk is one that is connected to your computer by a cable – not built into it. There are various types of disks you can buy and use and these range from small USB or Flash drives to larger disks that connect to a computer via a USB cable.

To back up your files to one of these drives first connect the drive to your computer and wait as Windows identifies the drive and installs any necessary software. In time, Windows Explorer should open and if it does not, then hold down the Windows key on your keyboard and press the letter E to open a My Computer window. On the left of the screen you will see an entry for your new drive – this is the drive that you will be copying your files onto.

To copy files, documents or photos click on your Libraries icon and click on Documents or Pictures as desired. Select the documents or photos that you want to back up and then drag and drop them onto the drive icon for your new drive. To select and copy multiple files at a time click on the first and Shift + Click on the last in the sequence to select them.

If you have trouble with the drag and drop mouse maneuver you can right click and choose Copy to copy the files, then click on the drive to copy the files to (in the panel on the left of the window), right click and choose Paste to paste the files onto this new disk.
This manual backup routine will be sufficient if you have only a few files and photos to back up. The benefit of backing up to an external drive like this is that you can take the drive with you, plug it into any other computer and the files will be there for you to use. One disadvantage is that it is vulnerable to theft and damage by fire and flood so you may want to store it somewhere safe away from the computer when you are not using it to back up your files.