Hassle-free backups

If anything goes wrong with this finely tuned electromechanical system, all your data can be gone in 60 nanoseconds. And despite decades of research and testing by thousands of talented engineers, things still go wrong.

Have you backed up your data today? If you don't regularly back up your computer, don't feel too bad - you have lots of company. And if you are one of the forward-thinking few who back up regularly, you deserve a medal. If you aren't, you must like living dangerously.

Bigger equals riskier

Okay, you have a million things to do, and a hard drive hasn't failed on you in years. New hard disk drives are indeed more reliable than their counterparts of a decade ago, when PC users spent much of their maintenance time working on or replacing failed hard drives. Your data was as important then as it is now, but there's much more of it today - and probably many more applications as well.

Corporate IT departments may back up user data onto their networks automatically (usually overnight), but individuals in corporate departments may be responsible for backing up much or all of their own work. If your work PC crashes, don't expect any miracles from the IT folks.

If you're a power user, or if losing your business PC for even a few hours would cause big problems, the backup equation becomes more vital. You need to make reliable backups regularly, and you need an extra hard drive for quick swapping if the worst-case scenario occurs.

PC users today have more backup alternatives than in the past, and new hardware and software make automating backups easier than ever. Whether you choose the reliability of Travan tape, the versatility of recordable optical media, or the convenience of online backups, there's an effective backup strategy that will meet your needs without taking up too much of your time.

We looked at tape drives (the traditional backup peripherals), CD-RW drives, DVD-RAM drives, and Internet-based backup, as well as removable-media drives, network- attached drives, drive-mirroring controllers, drive-imaging software, and automatic backup utilities.

Tape backups remain the best choice for simplicity and price, but many people will prefer the versatility of CD-RW drives, as long as they can tolerate their relatively meagre capacities. Finally, if slow data transfer speeds don't bother you, online storage may be your best choice.

Backup vs. backup

Tried and true: tape drives

Backup burns: CD-RW drives

DVD-RAM: in the wings?

Internet backup arrives

The backup quandry

Do I really need to back up?

Alternative backup solutions

Backup checklist

Running on batteries

Internal vs. external

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stan Miastkowski

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?