Backing up data

“My thanks for the expert supervision of this thesis and a certain degree of courage associated with it go to Michal Černý. And, surprisingly, my final thanks go to the gentlemen at the computer repair shop in Veveří, who twelve days before my deadline revived the last version of the thesis which, in their words, was transformed into a ‘veritable swamp, madam’”. This sentence comes from a master’s thesis and succinctly portrays the feeling everyone gets when they pour a cup of tea or other beverage into their computer (as has repeatedly happened to the author of this text as well). It’s said that data are the most valuable thing we have, but it’s interesting that we’re not really that capable of taking great care of them.  

In the field of computer security, there’s a name for a special kind of virus – Ransomware, whose goal is clear – to block access to your data and require payment from you to unblock it, ideally in bitcoins. This situation isn’t uncommon and it’s undoubtedly practical to prepare for it. In other words, this means acting safely and setting up some computer security (e.g. an antivirus program), but also having your data backed up somewhere. You never know when you’ll encounter a hacker from Russia or a cup of tea. In regard to data, both lead to fairly similar situations.   

So how should you back things up? Windowsand other operating systems usually offer their own tools to create backups. What’s definitely worth doing is backing up your system not only on the device it’s located on, which is the first choice for most people, but “crossing over” as well, i.e. linking your home computer with a notebook with the backup. Windows offers several functions for backup, and the most commonly used is the System Restore Point or a complete bit copy of the whole system. If you’re going to make a backup via external services, a “differential backup” will come in handy – this doesn’t move everything to your backed-up storage, only what has changed over a certain period of time. It’s also good to back up your mobile telephone – you can do this in Android with a tool like G Cloud Backup, or use the iCloud for iOS.   

The second possibility is to use some kind of back-up system – SyncBack 8.5 is a freely accessible tool (for non-commercial purposes), which can backup your system (or only a selected part of it) either on an internal or external medium. Similar solutions are offered byFreeFileSync or Comodo BackUp. All these backup tools can typically be used to backup data that are important to you. With them, you can recover operating systems and programs automatically from Windows, but if you’re going to need to buy a new computer that contains the system after a beverage catastrophe, all license keys can be easily transferred.  

Thus, it’s your data that have true value – from your photos to your documents, and it’s good to focus on this. The easiest way is to create one folder on your computer (e.g. by using Documents for this purpose) and back them up separately.  

Another possibility for backing up data that we’d like to recommend is the use of online disks or storage clouds. These usually have tools that you install onto your computer, which then synchronize selected folders. They work great for data synchronization between computers or for accessing files via your mobile phone, but also for backups. We can recommend Google Drive, with a free capacity of 15 GB (but shared throughout Google services), Mega with 50 GB, and of course OneDrive with 5 GB, which is integrated into Office and Windows, or Dropbox with 2 GB, which can be expanded (by using the mobile app, recommending Dropbox to others, etc.). 

In general, cloud storage has two possible limitations – some people are bothered by the fact that you have to upload everything to the internet, which is demanding on data flow. Usually, however, it’s possible to set up individual applications to improve this situation. The other limitation is limited free capacity. You could just pay more, but…  

Probably the best option is simply backing up your data in a way that makes it impossible to lose them. Many users combine backup methods, uploading photos to Flickr or Zonerama and saving documents in  Dropbox, as two or three gigabytes of storage is more than enough for them.  


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