Best Method of Backing Up Computer Data!
Best way to Backup Data on Mac and Windows!
These methods and ways are only one way in countless methods. Please do not think this is the right way. I am an I.T guy but once you have been working in this line of work for 5+ years you know there are countless ways to fix an issue and backup computers. The ways I am about to share with you seem to be practical and hopefully useful to you. I also see these methods being used a lot at my workplace as well.
Different Windows PC Back-Up Method!
You probably know this method. Purchase an External Drive or External Solid State and just drag and drop your data.
- First, go to your C Drive or also known as My PC on your Windows Library/Explorer
- Once you are at the C Drive or “My PC” or for even older computers “Computers” or “Local Drive (C:)”
- Click on the “Users” folder and find your User folder usually your User folder is named after your Computer name if that is your literal name click that or if that is your computer username click that whole folder and copy and paste it to your external drive!
There you have it. You have successfully backed up your whole computer account. This Doesn’t include your other users!!!
Possible Questions Answered:
Q: Where can I get an External Drive or Solid State and what is the difference?
A: You can get them on Amazon, or Best Buy if you have a local MicroCenter and or Newegg. All of these places are great places to get them.
Hard or Solid? Hard Drive has moving parts meaning there is a disk-like record player with a needle in the drive and what happens over time is the disk gets worn and the needle starts to click which means your hard drive is about to die. For you youngsters who don’t know what a record player is the DJ scratchboard with needle ok I think you get the picture right? LOL! Solid State Drive (SSD) has been around for a long time since 1991 (Enterprise and Industrial Computing Use Only). But it has recently come to consumer use. We can now literally buy SSD now in any tech store! Solid State Drive is amazing because unlike the Hard Drive it has no moving parts and it is literally memory chips stacked. Hard Drives last really long I mean some go up to 5–10 years!!! SSD has a similar lifespan!
What do I recommend?
SSD because if you drop it no problem. You toss it in your book bag no problem! HDD (Hard Drive) drop could be a problem, in your book bag being tossed and crushed under your books yeah problem. But it all depends on what kind of Hard Drive. You get the old retro Seagate External Hard Drive no problem I dropped that thing so much and the cover came off at one point survived. But this is the OLD model, not the ones you get now that has the super thin cover! I recommend LaCie these are built like a tank! I heard it was KIND of waterproof to some point as well! Price range LaCie HDD is similarly priced to Samsung, Sandisk, and LaCie External SSDs!
Intermediate Way: RAID System!
Purchase a RAID system. What I mean by RAID is there is a device called a Storage Device and it stores hard drives. This can be set up as a RAID which means linking multiple hard drives in the storage device. Usually, these RAID come with software and you will need to know how to navigate through this software. The beauty of a RAID is it is usually plugged and play and you have a series of options you can do 0, 1, or other array options. I usually do 0 because that means if you say have 4 disks. Disk 1 holds your computer data. But as time goes disk 1 dies but before your data is destroyed it moves to Disk 2 and so forth. The RAID Storage Device usually has a way to tell you to replace a faulty drive so you shouldn’t worry about ever going far down as Disk 4. Again you have options of a Hard Drive RAID and Solid State Drive RAID. I recommend a good old Hard Drive. Solid State can wear down quicker because of the reading and writing and if you do a lot of “reads” and “writes” on your computer data meaning you make a lot of changes to your files consistently and opening and closing your files consistently and moving them around and copy and paste your files consistently from the SSD RAID, yeah it is going to wear down quicker. But, Hard Drive RAID should be ok.
Advanced Way: NAS System!
Network Attached Storage (NAS) system is by far the most advanced method!!! Usually, most I.T people at work have a NAS setup at home! Why NAS is so much better? First of all, it is a RAID system attached to the Network usually your home network. If you get the top-of-the-line Synology brand for example you get top-notch software as well. Usually, it comes with security and software to install on your computer. The best thing is it is attached to your home network so that means you can install the Synology or QNAP or other NAS Brand software on multiple computers in your home and backup all the computers to the NAS. You can get big ones that can hold Terabytes and Terabytes of data. A terabyte is One Thousand Gigabyte and that is a lot.
Again you can invest in HDD (Hard Drive) or SSD (Solid State Drive) system.
Apple Macintosh Computer Back-Up Method!
Easy Way: Drag and Drop Method to External Drive!
Again you can literally purchase an External Drive and this can be Hard Drive LaCie recommended or Solid State Drive Samsung or Sandisk recommended.
- Please open Finder on your Dock! (Face icon far left of the Dock at the bottom)
- Now go to the very top Apple Menu bar and click on “Go” you should see a drop-down menu click on “Computer”!
- Once you are there click on Macintosh HD and then your User folder or Home Folder you can tell you will see a Home icon on the blue folder.
- Double click the Home folder and copy and paste all folders EXCEPT the Library and Public folder.
You have just backed up all your user data in your computer account only! Congrats!
Be CAREFUL using Time Machine!!!
I see this happen countless times during work! Most people don’t upgrade yet alone update their computers. What happens is when you bring an old Time Machine back it is locked why? Because most likely it was backed up from an older macOS and that is a problem! If you don’t want your files to freeze up and corrupted just drag and drop that is usually safe! Copy and Paste is your friend! Never and I say Never Move your files that means you have no copy and the moved file is the only copy you have. Click Copy and Click Paste on the Right Click menu.
Intermediate Way 1: Target Disk Mode!
This is for OLDER Mac computers. 2012–2020 INTEL MacBooks ONLY!
If you have a MacBook that has Intel just look at your FN key and if you don’t see a globe icon you probably have INTEL Mac.
Target Disk Mode is a pretty neat feature Mac Computers with Intel Chip have. It basically makes your Mac computer into an External Drive!!!
This is the perfect method to use if you have a MacBook and the display is broken and you have another MacBook to move your very important files over!!!
- Turn Off your computer by shutting it down. (If your MacBook has a broken display hold down the power button for about 3–5 seconds.) 2016–2019 TouchBar the power button is located at the very right side of the Touch Bar you can feel a slight vertical line separating the power button from the Touch Bar.
- Press and HOLD T Key and then press the Power Button ONCE and Let Go!
- You should see a Lightning and USB Icon on the screen make sure to Plug In Your Power Adapter at this point!!! If you have a broken screen hold the T key for about 5 seconds and let go hopefully you are in Target Disk Mode.
- Now on your Other MacBook plug in the USB-C Data Cable or Thunderbolt 2 Data Cable. Once that is done you can now see your Target Disk Mode computer on your other MacBook Desktop screen. Usually an Orange Drive with Macintosh HD on it. You may have to put in your computer password if you have FileVault turned on.
- Open the Orange Macintosh HD Drive and Click on your Home Folder Double click the Home folder and Copy and paste all folders EXCEPT the Library and Public folder.
You should be good to go now.
Intermediate Way 2: Carbon Copy Cloner!
Easier Method. But will cost you money. I think it is worth it! Cost around $40 bucks I think unless it got more expensive. Click Here to go to the website!
- Install the Carbon Copy Cloner.
- Open Carbon Copy Cloner.
- Select the Target Disk Mode Mac or your Mac’s Macintosh HD and then select an External Hard Drive
- Run the App and you should have a bootable Backup! Meaning you can boot from your External Drive if it is an older Mac.
I hope this has helped!
Advanced Way: Ditto Command in Terminal!
This way is going to involve Terminal and I have dedicated a whole Medium Article to this process so make sure to check it out along my Technology Stories reading list. But, basically, it is a free way of doing Carbon Copy Cloner! Thanks for reading!!!