Hey guys! I have come across a lot of people lately asking what they should be backing up on their USBs or other storage devices. Backing up computer files is actually a pretty simple and a typically painless process. I have done tons of these for clients and I have made some pretty BIG mistakes. I will show you how to do this and also show you a neat tool in case you have a BIG mistake on your hands.
Backing Up Computer Files is Crucial
I want to emphasize the crucial portion. I say this because if your computer crashes today, what would you lose? Your kids pictures from prom? A special moment only found on your computer? If your computer were to die randomly(trust me it happens ALL THE TIME), you would lose all that precious data. Sure there are ways to recover it, but that requires a more in-depth knowledge and special equipment which we will hopefully cover in a later post.
I would suggest backing up mid-article or right after you read this because it truly is important.
Items That Can Be Saved
When a computer dies, or you move to another one, you lose all programs installed. Let’s cover some common programs you will lose:
- Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.,
- Adobe Reader
- All browsers but Edge, Internet Explorer
The only thing you can really bring over to another computer or that you need to restore is your User folder. I say this because this is where all of your data is stored. You could try to use software, but I do not trust software/Windows to keep my data safe. I have seen a ton of computers fail to restore/rollback. By doing something manually, only you are to blame (or maybe some article you read on the internet is to blame, maybe).
How to Backup Your User Profile
I did lie a little bit now to think about it. You will need to export your browser files and favorites. Also if you use Outlook, do not forget to export your .pst files in case you have sensitive emails. Articles are indeed being created for these and we hope to give you some walk-through on those as well.
….back on course. So here are the super easy simple steps to backing up 90% of your data(10% for Outlook and Web Browsers). Oh, and you will need a USB, at least 32 GB to be safe. These can be found anywhere(well, probably not grocery stores).
- Plug in your (at least) 32 GB USB
- Open File Explorer
- Go to C: Drive
- Select the Users folder
- Find your username (Mine is JohnCena in case you can’t see it)
- Left click your folder to bring it into focus
- Right click your folder and go down to >Send to>Your USB
Now once the transfer is over, you are all backed up! Just keep in my mind, this is grabbing your profile data. Documents, Desktop, Downloads. This does NOT include your installed programs. Those you cannot back up. They must be installed on each computer because of settings configured for each computer in the background. Only the data for programs are backed up, which is included in your User folder.
What if it’s Too Late?
I have been there. Accidentally erasing everything from your computer. If it is in your Recycle Bin, just right-click the Recycle Bin and choose to restore those files. If you already deleted them, then you will need some more advanced equipment/software. I recommend Recuva as this has saved me a few times from death.
When Do I Backup Files?
RIGHT NOW. Unless you do not care that you lose your user data. If you are like me and have tons of information, take a second to imagine losing it all right now. Keep that feeling until you have backed up your data. This is so important and so many people overlook it. Just set up a date. Maybe once a week, month, or year. Please let me know if you have any questions below!