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Image Backup vs File Backup

Everyone has a general concept of what a computer backup means.  It’s a separate stash of your data that you can use if you have some type of system crash or hardware failure.  Beyond this basic definition though, things seem to get fuzzy very quickly for most people.  Ask someone what software they are using for a backup, where it is stored, how often it is updated, and whether it’s a file backup or an image backup and 9 times out of 10 I’ll get a blank stare or a shrug.

There are two main types of backup.  The first is a basic file backup, an exact copy of your files in another location.  This can be as simple as copying and pasting files onto a USB drive.  Though preferably, you would have software automating the task for you on a regular interval to make sure it gets done and your backup isn’t months out of date.  The second type of backup is an image based backup.  This is a complete snap shot of your entire system including operating system, applications, and files.  It can be used to restore your computer to the same state it was in when the image was made.  This saves a lot of time with configuring and reinstalling individual applications if your hard drive happens to die.  System images are more complex than file backups and require specialized software to create them.  There are many 3rd party applications that will create an image, Windows 10 also contains a system image backup utility.  You can learn to use the Windows 10 backup application here.

It’s also important to give some consideration to where your backup is stored.  Even if you have made a backup to an external drive, if they are both stored in the same location or plugged into the same computer there is an increased chance that they could be damaged or stolen at the same time.  You can prevent such total loss of data by having an online or “cloud backup”.  This is simply tech jargon for a computer in another location, usually a large data center that has security and backup in place beyond what any individual could easily replicate.  Cloud backup depends on the speed of your internet connection, so it can take longer to create and longer to restore.  This is why the best plan will include a local backup and a cloud backup as well.

One of the most often neglected backup considerations is actually checking the backup to make sure it is running.  Software can only be relied on to do so much.  If you haven’t checked your backups lately you may be surprised when you actually need them.  If you are interested in having a backup plan created for you, give iSharpe Computer Solutions a call to get started.  336-260-0664

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