What’s the best way to back up?

A reader has some questions about backing up a PC:

“Could you tell me the best way to back up my hard drive? Also, when you back it up can you recover it easily? Is the back up only for a complete crash, or can you go in and recover one file?”

I don’t think there’s any single best way to back up your PC, but I’m glad to go over your options. Backups can be used to recover the complete PC or just one file.

The simplest backups are just making copies of your libraries, such as photos, documents, music, and video.

Thes can be used to recover one file or all of your files.

A system image will allow you to do a complete system restore in case something drastic goes wrong with your system. It’s usually a good idea to do both.  Windows offers built-in options in both Windows 10 and 11 to Back Up.

A system image is a copy of the state of a computer system at a particular time.  If you were to get a virus or make an unwanted change to your system, you could restore it to the previous state using the system image.  A system image contains your OS, programs, and files and probably a lot of stuff you don’t need or want. It also takes a long time. You aren’t going to want to run one daily.  Backing up your libraries is a good choice for everyday use.  You can often back up just your libraries on a flash drive or memory card.

One thought on “What’s the best way to back up?

  1. Cyn, this article brought to mind the regular problem I’m having backing up my files to flash drives. I back up roughly 11 Gigabytes of data to an external hard drive in a matter of roughly 15 minutes or less (I never kept accurate track of the time). When I make a second copy to a 32-Gigabyte flash drive [Formatted NTSF] it takes well over an hour; the copy utility shows the rate dropping to 0 for up to 30 seconds at a time. I’ve looked online a bit for answers as to why, or how to improve, with little success. Any suggestions?

    THANKS for your tips and tutorials. You’re doing a good job!

    John Anderson

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