Today we are going to talk about backups, everyone will have a preferred way, this is just my suggestion based on cloud services you’ll probably have available already to you.

I’m not going to cover taking a complete backup of your laptop here, i’m going to talk about backup of your photos, videos, music documents, data etc. If your PC or tablet croaks it you can rebuild it safe in the knowledge that those cherished moments and important bits of data are safe.

Backup Strategy

There are plenty of thoughts on how to do this, my personal one is back it up to the cloud straight away and back it up to an external disk once a week.

Chances are the cloud bit you’re probably doing already via your mobile phone..

Where? In the Cloud.

First let me tell you where NOT to backup.. Even if you are a fully paid up member of the Church of Steve Jobs and a dyed in the wool Apple Fan. Don’t ever use iCloud as your core backup location.

There is method in my madness.. Apple provides a closed system, its great if all you ever use is Apple products however the harsh reality of life is you’re at some point going to need to get this sorted out on a Non Apple device at some point and when that happens you’ll realise just what a closed system is.. Getting your photos out of a dead iphone onto an Android device is not impossible but will cost you..

Where to go then?

If your primary data source is photos then I would 100% suggest you go down the Google Drive route. Google offer several key services which make Google Drive one of the best cloud “backup” locations.

On every platform there is a program which will keep your devices files in sync and up to date with the Google cloud. On Windows and Mac the desktop application will backup everything on your hard disk across multiple devices so if you have 2 or more PC’s on the same accout you’ll see folders for each device.

If whats backed up is photo or video content it will be shown in Google Photos if its a document you can open it online at Google Docs

Other options?

If you’ve already subscribed for an Office365 package from Microsoft then Onedrive is Microsoft’s alternative and works in a similar way where it will sync folders and files from your devices up to Onedrive which you can then sync back down again or like Google view via a web portal.

While Google offers Google Doc’s for opening documents online Onedrive provides online versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Onedrive which open via the webbrowser which comes in very handy when you’re in a pinch.

There are also services like Dropbox, Mega and Box and while i’d not say these are going to disappear tomorrow when it comes to backups you want the knowledge that the service you are backing up to has the backing of a big player..

Pay for more

The simple rule here is you can do the above services for free (check the free allocations for cloud services here: https://www.thebalance.com/free-cloud-storage-1356638) in reality however you should pay for your backup service. If you don’t and the service disappears or reduces the amount of data you can sync, put simply shup up..

The two i’m suggesting here provide so much value add its worth paying the monthly fee for a few hundred more GB a month.. (it’s a coffee, as someone often says)

What about my security?

Fair comment, so lets get one thing straight right away.. Doesn’t matter where you store your data in the cloud or on your Windows PC, iPhone, Android device its being scanned and data keywords extracted. thats the world we live in.. don’t like it. Tough.. You can work around this however realistically you’re just going to make life hard for yourself.

Backup Licences and Passwords

Now we have the photos, videos, music and documents backed up. Have a think about the other important data you have. Passwords, Licences and licence keys for software you’ve bought. How about backing this lot up online.

Ok, you don’t use the same password for everything, of course you don’t you’re much smarter than that..

Have a look at Dashlane, Lastpass or BitWarden the first two offer a feww basic vault for storing your passwords, card details, password information all that information close to your heart. BitWarden is free opensource. All 3 have good track records when it comes to security.

Using one of the vaults not only provides a secure location to keep protected information. They will auto generate random passwords for your accounts eliminating the number 1 reason you will get your online data stolen, you chose to use the same damned password (or 3 or 4 passwords) for everything.

For more information on what a password manager does, watch this. its Lastpass centric however the same principles apply for Dashlane or BitWarden.

<iframe width=”560" height=”315" src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/3ibWsu3KtbI" frameborder=”0" gesture=”media” allow=”encrypted-media” allowfullscreen></iframe>

A couple more things..

You’re the proud owner of a new Windows Laptop..

DO THIS!!! NOW!!!

Purchase 3 x 16Gb USB Sticks from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kingston-Technology-Traveler-Generation-Flash/dp/B00C5K8D5W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514834918&sr=8-1&keywords=16gb+usb

Download and Install Rufus from here: https://rufus.akeo.ie scroll down for the download link.

Download the Windows 10 ISO image from: https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/windows10ISO

Follow these instructions for creating a Windows ISO Image..

<iframe width=”560" height=”315" src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/psPWQy3-5B0" frameborder=”0" gesture=”media” allow=”encrypted-media” allowfullscreen></iframe>

Done that? (remove the USB, keep it safe)

Ok now head over to Parted Magic Download Page: https://partedmagic.com/downloads/

Choose Option 1, stump up $11 and download the ISO

Run the Same process you did for the Windows ISO above just point Rufus at the partedmagic ISO and put in the 2nd USB stick

What do we now have?

You now have the two most important pieces of IT tech out there. You have a method of reinstalling Windows 10 and PartedMagic the greatest tool for recovering data and systems currently available today.

Both USB keys can be booted from and used to get you back up and running should the worst happen.