When doing PC repairs in Coleshill and Sutton Coldfield the second most frequent question I get asked is about backing up. The average PC user knows this is something they should do, but often don’t actually do anything about it, or, plan to get around to it eventually, only to be struck down with a Ransomware infection or a hard drive failure. Informing a client that the only copy of their baby photographs are gone potential for ever, or at best could be recovered by a specialist forensics data recovery firm for upwards of £400 is never a nice thing to do but sadly it happens frequently.


There are several ways to back up, each with pros and cons. We IT professionals now recommend you do at least 2 backups for your most critical data:


  • If you are super organised then the weekly routine of plugging in an external USB hard drive and copying over your important files using a piece of specialised backup software, or a simple cut and paste will work. Just remember to remove the drive when it has finished because Ransomware will jump to external devices which are physically connected to your computer or network. Ransomware is where your personal files get scrambled and password protected and unless you pay the ransom, you cannot open your files. (Remember the NHS attack earlier in the year?) This back up won’t be protected from fire or theft.


  • Use Google Drive, or OneDrive. Both these companies give you a limited amount of free storage in the “Cloud” (a computer in another place). Files that you want to back up are stored in a specific folder on your PC, which is then synced or “photocopied” onto a secure place on the internet. Strictly speaking this isn’t a backup, it is a synchronisation service. If you delete the file on your PC it deletes it in the cloud as well. This option protects you from fire and theft, but definitely not from Ransomware.


  • A cloud based back up that stores versions of your files and photos in a secure place in the cloud automatically. This way offers better protection from Ransomware, as previous versions of your files are kept and can be restored after an attack has been cleaned off your computer. My existing cloud back up customers are already benefiting from the relief of not having to even think about back up for the cost of a coffee and cake a month. The system is monitored so if any problems arise with the backup I address them as part of the service. Total peace of mind, especially when combined with my award winning Internet security software! (I know a little sales pitch, but what a perfect Christmas gift for a family member who you know should back up and doesn’t!)


What is the number one question I get asked? Find out next month!


Happy ‘Putering!


Caroline The ‘PuterTutor