You've decided to be a responsible computer user and back up your files before disaster hits and you've chosen online backup as the best backup option. Now what? It's easy to know you should back up, but what files should you back up?
If you ask what to back up most tech gurus will say to back up everything, but that answer isn't necessarily the right answer. Drives today are huge and copying every file to an online backup can take hours or even days on the first run with the same cost to recover the files. Putting unnecessary files uses up your backup space and makes it hard to locate individual files when you're collaborating? Replacing a damaged hard drive isn't a matter of copying all the files onto a new drive. What files will you need to perform a backup recovery? You might feel like you need to backup your operating system, but its often faster to recover your operating system from the cd it came on. Files you might want to include are financial records, digital photos, important email, your address book, Internet bookmarks, documents you've created, and registration keys for purchased software.
Online backup makes it easy to protect data but there are files that are a waste to archive. Computers use temporary files for a variety of reasons but they are called "temporary" for a reason. The biggest source of these is your internet browser. Browsers save copies of images, videos, and other web page information on your computer so that if you revisit the page it will load more quickly the second time. There is no reason to store these files online since they will be downloaded the next time you visit the site. Although you should store important documents there is no reason to back up the programs that create those documents. When you install software such as Microsoft Office it copies and changes files and registry settings on your computer. You can't just copy the Office folder to a new computer and have it work. You will have to reinstall the software from the original CDs.
If you don't know what to archive to online storage then it is better to back up everything. Yes, we just said you shouldn't just back up everything but if you have no real clue what to store or where to find it, it's better to protect everything and sort it out later. The same philosophy applies to frequency of online backup. Most sources will tell you to back up daily. While this may seem frequent when your data doesn't change much you'll appreciate it if you ever have to restore. Backing up daily minimizes your loss during a hard drive crash. What better way to protect your data then to try our free online backup?