PC Backups Guide From Tabard IT

If your computer or server crashes, and you don’t have adequate backups of your files, you might lose important documents and end up spending a lot of time trying to rebuild your system. This can be very expensive! Even with backups of all your data, it can take some time to rebuild a system back to its original state. Proper preparation is important.

If you have a server, your backup choices are more flexible, as your files will be stored in one location, making them easier to backup. If you don’t, you may have to back up each computer separately.

Backups can be as simple as occasional copies of your system and/or data to a CD or DVD, or automated backups to external hard discs or tape drive. Remote or online backup copies your data via the internet to a server located elsewhere (potentially anywhere in the world).

If you have no server but do have Windows 7 or Vista, you can use Backup and Restore (look for it in Control Panel). This can be set to back up automatically to an external drive; use two to keep two separate backups, and store the one you’re not using away from the PC.

If you have Windows 2000 or XP Professional, you can use the built-in NT Backup utility (NTBACKUP.EXE) to back up to disc or tape. There are also many commercial backup packages available, from cheap and cheerful to seriously expensive, depending on your requirements and the importance of your data.

If you have Small Business Server 2003 or above, there are built-in backup wizards available which can fairly easily be set up to do automated backups to tape (2003 only) or disc (or both). Note that as from Windows Server 2008, tape drive backups are not supported by Microsoft – you will need a third party tool to continue using tapes, such as BackupAssist.

For small businesses with a server, we recommend using external hard discs to backup. For archiving, tapes can also be used.

For homes or home businesses, we recommend an external hard disc (or two if the budget allows) which can be set up for automatic backing up.

One big advantage of tapes over external hard drives is their archiving abilities, but they can be slow, and tape drives are expensive. They are also not supported by Microsoft’s built-in backup program for Server 2008 onwards. External discs are fast and relatively cheap, but can run out of memory space, and they cannot be easily transported offsite.
Online/remote backups are by their nature offsite, and therefore, safe from local disasters; but they can work to be out expensive in the long run, where security and ownership of data might be a problem, meaning if you don’t have a fast upstream internet connection and have lots of data, timing can be a problem.

For more information on any of these options, or to discuss your backup (or lack of), please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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