Backup - Not just for business anymore

It's estimated that 1/3 of all computer users don't do any backup on their computer systems, and that of those that do 3/4 only do it once a month or less. 

With more and more of our important data (pictures, videos, etc) stored digitally, backup for the home user is as important as it is for the business user.

Let's explore some of the options available for backup.

In order for backup to be useful, it must be:

  • automatic
  • reliable
  • redundant
  • offsite

There are several options available for the home user.

External Hard Drive

Many people use an external hard drive to backup their data.  The advantage here is simplicity and ease of use.  You can automate the process by using a device or software from Clickfree (  To provided redundancy and reliability, it is best to use more than one drive, one of which should be stored offsite either at a friends house or in a safe deposit box.

The external drive may be connected to your computer via USB or you may use a networked attached storage (NAS).  The advantage of NAS is that multiple computers can use the storage.


Another popular option is to burn content to DVD or CD.  This is another easy method.  The caveat here is to make sure that you use archival quality media and store it in a safe location.  Having copies offsite is also helpful. 

Online services

My chosen method for backup is to use an online service.  The advantage here is that the backup automatically happens in the background and the service provider will provide the redundancy.   Obviously since it's being done by a service, it's already running offsite.

There are 4 major backup services that I would recommend:

Each have their advantages and disadvantages.  The major disadvantage of online backup is that you need to upload the data on your internet connection.  If you have a data cap, this will count against your monthly quota.  In addition, upload speeds on most internet service providers are much less than the download speed.  Crashplan works around this by providing a service where they ship you a hard drive, allowing you to backup to that drive locally and sending it back to them.  This helps reduce the time to complete the initial backup. 

Dropbox is not necessarily a backup solution, but a way to archive files and share them with others.  You get 2 GB for free and 256 MB for each friend who signs up via your referral.   To get an extra 256 MB at signup, click my referal link here:

For most users, the initial backup will take between 1-3 weeks.  Once this is complete, daily backups of changed files will only take a short amount of time.

Please comment on what you use for backup or what questions you may have.