Best way to back up everything on my laptop?

Globalti

Legendary Member
I have a Vaio and in common, it seems, with many other users it is beginning to become unreliable. It keeps crashing and recently even Google Chrome crashed twice. Each time it crashed (usually when I try to print something) it makes an error report and then tells me it has recovered from a serious error.

Two colleagues have the same and they have had even worse problems. There's a lot on the web about unreliable Vaios.

So I want to back up all my pictures and files, accumulated over several years on this an previous computers. If possible the backup medium should also be usable on our home desktop, which has just spent a lengthy time with a repairer who lost all our precious family photos.

What's the best way to back everything up?
 
The quick and easy solution is to back up - twice!

I bought a couple of large external hard drives, both 500 Gb for about £40 each.

Now I backup all my important data and photographs as I am finished with them, ensuring a copy.

Then about once a week I run all my antivirus software and use the "Acronis" software that came with the software to backup the system itself

... and all my University Coursework has a copy n the University server as well.


Remember - He who laughs last .. had a backup
 
OP
Globalti

Globalti

Legendary Member
What about just copying everything to a couple of CDs? Last time I did this I think I got all the files but lost the folder arrangements, which was a bit useless really.
 

GrasB

Veteran
Location
Nr Cambridge
I'd use flash media for 'small' amounts of data, robust 16GB pen drives aren't that expensive, or data that you really don't want to lose (as it's a reliable media for archiving) & HDDs for more than 64GB. In between those points it comes down to cost, HDDs are much cheaper per GB but are more prone to failure, I also don't rate CDs/DVDs for backup media. They can get scratched to easily & the lower quality media isn't exactly reliable for long period storage.
 
OP
Globalti

Globalti

Legendary Member
I really know very little about this. What I need is something I can plug into the laptop or home computer and will become just an extension that holds the folders and files in exactly the same way as I see them in "my computer". What is an HDD?
 

CopperBrompton

Bicycle: a means of transport between cake-stops
Location
London
External hard drive. These are very cheap for large capacities these days.

The chances of both laptop and external hard drive failing at the same time are infintessimally small, but if you worry about that, buy two and alternate backups between them so you always have a recent backup on both.
 

ASC1951

Guru
Location
Yorkshire
Globalti said:
What I need is something I can plug into the laptop or home computer and will become just an extension that holds the folders and files in exactly the same way as I see them in "my computer". What is an HDD?
HDD = hard disk drive. You can get HDD or flash memory which just plug into your USB port and operates as a spare disk. Flash memory = 'stick' or 'card'.

I can't see any reason not to use a USB stick. You can get 4 and 8GB sticks for peanuts and that is a colossal amount of data unless you are backing up photos, music or video (in which case I would use CDs). I only need to back up spreadsheets and text, so I find a couple of 2GB sticks perfectly adequate.

Backing up needs to be very quick and simple, otherwise you don't do it. I have to have a weekly Outlook reminder, too.
 

CopperBrompton

Bicycle: a means of transport between cake-stops
Location
London
CDs are a very bad form of backup. BBC tests show that their life can be as little as two years, and the first time you know they've failed is when you need them. A hard drive, in contrast, is tested every time you backup (at least weekly, I would suggest) and can then be immediately replaced.
 

SavageHoutkop

Über Member
Any of the external hard drives will work with any computer (and more than one). They work just like a USB memory stick. We have a Freecom 250GB little thing which is USB connected.

If you're only talking 'couple of cds' worth don't bother getting one of these, get some USB sticks instead. I've just got myself a 32GB one (!). Smaller capacities are cheap now, I'd recommend Kingston for brand reliability and guarantee period.

CDs are more effort than these. This is literally a 'copy, paste' method of backup. No burning or anything. You copy, it's backed up, simples. Also they are read write much easier than CDs are.
 

dodgy

Guru
Location
Wirral
Has the OP mentioned the OS that is on the Vaio? Presumably it's Windows of some sort, but which one?

Later versions have a pretty good built in backup system, I perform a full system back up (in other words enough to be able to revert back to a given build) every week. It's like making a mirror image of the entire PC. Not a problem in this day of cheap USB HDDs.
 

Mycroft

New Member
Another vote for getting a Mac and using time machine.

aside from that there is the old (well in computer terms) adage that, "a file does not exist unless it is in at LEAST two places"

so back up twice.

HDD is the most convenient, but for something that isn't going to change like photos then archiving them to DVD/CD AS WELL is likely worth the effort of doing once in a while, if you do it by date then type up a text file to remind you where your last backup got to.

a mac with Time Machine is automatic, all you need to do is plug in the HDD, a popup asks you if you want to use it as your backup drive, and after that you never need to look at it again until you delete something or have a (computer HDD) failure.
 
OP
Globalti

Globalti

Legendary Member
dodgy said:
Has the OP mentioned the OS that is on the Vaio? Presumably it's Windows of some sort, but which one?

Later versions have a pretty good built in backup system, I perform a full system back up (in other words enough to be able to revert back to a given build) every week. It's like making a mirror image of the entire PC. Not a problem in this day of cheap USB HDDs.
It's XP. That USB powered drive looks even better.

Thanks for all the advice!
 
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