Back It Up!

Computers are great when they work; expensive boat anchors when they don’t. It’s preparing for those times that they don’t work that we’ll look at today.

One thing the computer has done, probably too well, is replace the photo album. We take pictures on our phones, they get sent to us on Facebook, even portrait studios offer digital copies. Precious photos and important documents now all reside on the computer. So, what happens when the computer breaks down? You’re at risk of losing all those memories and papers. Unless you learn to back everything up. It’s the suspenders-and-belt theory.

Backing things up means having a backup copy of all your important files on something outside of the computer. There are several ways to get this done, but we’ll look at just one way today. Let’s talk about backing files up to ‘The Cloud’.

Back Up to the Cloud

What is ‘The Cloud’? Really, that’s just a buzzword for using computers that are located somewhere else in the world, through the Internet. So when you’re backing files up to the cloud, you’re just storing them on a computer somewhere in the world outside of your home.

There are several free cloud storage services, such as Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive, or DropBox. These are all services that you can drag-and-drop copies of your files to and they’ll be safe. To get them back, all you need is Internet access and your password. You can access the files with any computer in the world!

Google Drive , Microsoft’s OneDrive , and DropBox all have free basic services. Google Drive and OneDrive give you 15 gigabytes (GB) of storage space for free, while DropBox gives you just 2GB for free.

How much space is that? Well, the average photo from your phone or digital camera is about 2 megabytes (MB). There are 1000 megabytes in a gigabyte. Do a little math, and 15GB is enough room to store 7500 photographs or so. Most documents will be much less than 2 MB.

Each of these services has excellent guides on how to use them. If you can move files around on your computer now, you can easily use these services too. Did I mention they’re free? Did I mention you could sign up for all three of them if you wanted? You’d have 32GB of cloud storage. That’s a lot of back up space in cyberspace.

First Published: The Guysborough Journal, Vol . 21, No. 12, March 25, 2015

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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