Guide to Windows Backups: The Task Everyone Should Take, But No One Really Does

ITEC Entertainment is a multidisciplinary organization with a strong diversity of talented staffers. Occasionally our employees will share their expertise in their area of discipline. This post was written by ITEC’s IT & Support Manager, Sady Garcia.

While a data protection and backup strategy for a corporate enterprise like ITEC Entertainment is very comprehensive in nature, there are measures most any Windows user can take to better protect their data. 
It happens to everyone. You work on a document for hours and forget to save it. Then, the document gets mistakenly erased and you have to painstakingly start all over. This is especially tragic in ITEC Entertainment’s line of work, where each document could contain hundreds of hours of work from theme park and attraction design to engineering and architectural concepts. As an IT Manager, when these situations happen, my first question is: “Do you have a backup?”  More often than not the answer is “no.” At ITEC, I work to make sure that the answer is always “yes.” By staying on top of this simple housekeeping task, our company is able to stay at the forefront of innovation and ensure all our work is safeguarded. Below are suggestions for creating your own personal, data protection strategy – whether for at home or for your office workstation.

Update and Security Systems

The easiest step to set up is already built into your Windows 10. It’s on your Windows settings under the icon “Update and Security.”

Flash Drive versus Cloud Storage

Depending on the amount of data you have, you can start with something as small as a flash drive, but, if you have large picture archives or video, you should consider a more sizeable storage of an external hard drive backup.  You can easily pick one of these up for close to $59.00 that will include several terabytes of storage, which will likely be more than plenty for your average user.  Once connected, you will see the following options show up:

Here you can choose what folders you want to backup and how often you want the backup to reoccur. Windows 10 already has some common folders pre-selected for you to conduct the backup.
While an external drive is always the convenient setup for a quick restore of your files, external drives do fail every so often. The next option, while it is a paid option, will give you more versatility and peace of mind.  Cloud storage has been around for a while and Windows 10 comes with one already built in called OneDrive.  There are other options such as Dropbox, iCloud and Google Drive, but for simplicity sake, we will use OneDrive since it is already ready to go.  
OneDrive comes in two flavors: personal or business.  Microsoft offers 5GB of storage free to try it out on the personal account (which we will use in this example), but signing up for Office 365 is required for commercial use.  The OneDrive personal plan comes with different options, so if you decide to use it as your cloud storage it can be molded according to the amount of storage you need.  While the name of the service is the same, the personal version allows you to sync pictures to the cloud storage from your mobile device automatically, while the business account does not.

Setting up OneDrive

To launch OneDrive, it is as easy as typing “OneDrive” on the search bar or scrolling down the windows menu until you find it.  

Here you can log in with your personal account or create one.  OneDrive will then create a new folder for you under “C:\Users\YourUserName\OneDrive,” which you can find after the setup under File Explorer on the left-hand side of the File Explorer Window.  

The next window will have folders you can sync with your PC.  The folders showing will be pre-generated and you can customize them as needed.  Once the wizard is completed, whichever folder you put into OneDrive will automatically sync with the cloud and can be accessed from another PC, the web, and even your mobile phone!  Even if previously synced files are accidentally deleted, OneDrive will keep them for 30 days.  The clear advantage of the cloud is the versatility of reaching your storage no matter where you are, keeping files safe and protected from deletion.

While there are plenty of other ways to keep your files safe, I hope this tidbit of information will help prevent both personal and work disasters now and in the future.

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Lisa Junkerman

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