Well yes, but what if your hard drive develops a fault, or you drop your laptop in the bath? Often that means waving goodbye to all that important stuff but these days there are several ways to
improve the odds by saving your data in another place.
- CDs/DVDs/Blu-ray discs
- USB Sticks or Flash Drives
- External Hard Drives
- Cloud Storage
- Social Media
It’s a good idea to use a combination of methods – belt and braces, so that if one fails you have another copy too. Each have their pros and cons but all of these are better than losing your files forever.
These are useful for backing up documents. Of the three, only a Blu-ray disc can hold a larger number of photos. These can be easily stored or sent through the post – for instance a wedding album is easy to share in this way. Beware though, these discs don’t last for ever and you should think about something else for long term storage.
USB Stick/Flash Drive
These have the advantage of being small and easy to use on the go. They come in a wide variety of capacities from 1GB up to a max of around 256GB. If you need to transfer files from one computer to another – these are the tool for the job. One note of caution is that being so small, they are also easy to lose. I keep mine on a lanyard around my neck if I’m travelling.
External Hard Drive
Desktop versions are the size of a hefty hardback book, whilst portable versions are no bigger than your mobile phone. They also have a wide variety of capacities, from around 500GB up to 8TB or maybe more. As time goes by, larger and larger drives are on the market. A reasonable portable drive will cost around £50-£80 and will last you for a long time. You can back up your entire computer to it, or just the files you choose.
Did you know that you can request an archive of all your Facebook activity – posts, photos, everything? Just go to Settings> General Account Settings> Download a copy of your Facebook data. You will be asked to confirm your password and then a file will be sent to the email address you have registered with. Instagram and Twitter have similar features too.
Most of us have access to some cloud storage though you might not necessarily know it.
- If your broadband is through BT, you have up to 100GB of free cloud storage which you can set up and access though your BT account online.
- If you are an Office 365 subscriber, you have 1TB of free OneDrive storage per user.
- If you have a Google account – gmail or an android phone, you have 15GB of free Google cloud storage.
- If you are an Amazon Prime customer, you have unlimited photo storage on Amazon Cloud, plus 5GB for other data.
- If you have an iPhone or other Apple product, you have 5GB of free iCloud storage.
Then there are the cloud services you can find online. One of the most popular is Dropbox which gives you 2-16GB of free storage. Others are Mega.com which gives 50GB free and Box, giving 10GB free of charge. All of these also have paid-for upgrades of space available.
These services are straightforward to access – most can be connected to straight from your phone as well as your computer. Using cloud storage combined with at least one of the other methods in this blog post, will help you to keep your data safe for years to come.
'Five Ways to Store Your Files and Photos' - written for File Genie by Freelance Writer Ruth Raymer @WritingWalking