Free and simple ways to protect and backup your data

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Last week I had a bad run in with Windows 8 and had to restore my system back to Windows 7 via the Acer Restore System. Even though Acer Restore system has the option to backup the files, it was not working because of some conflicting program so I had to make the hard decision of not restoring the user files so that I can get my system working again.

[I might have been able to save all my files if I had handled the situation a little better and saved all the files to another drive before I started the Acer Restore system. :/ ]

 

The things that I had lost in this fiasco are -

 

1. Documents – all the blog drafts that I had saved to work on later, my work documents, presentations, and all the eBooks I had… A total of 2 GB of files.

 

2. Music – I had around 8 GB of music in my C drive. Thankfully I use Google Music and almost all my music was uploaded to it. All I had to do was install music manager and click on download my music library and my entire music collection was back in my computer.

 

3. Videos – I had around 80 GB of videos in my C drive, even though most of them were movies, I had a few gigs of family videos. Loosing those hit me the hardest. Among those videos I had a clip of my little cousin playing. She is 1 year old and really fun. She does not live in India and it was the first time I had met her. That moment is lost forever. :(

 

4. Pictures – I backup my pictures to Picasa but I had not come round to backing up the pictures of my latest vacation to Picasa. I lost them.

 

Losing all the personal stuff is terrible. Your personal data is not safe in your computer, system crashes, hard drive crashes, your laptop getting stolen, or someone doing a remote wipe as in @mat’s case can wipeout your important data.

 

Backup is either too costly or a pain in the ass. People don’t willingly do it every week. So here is something I came up with which will make sure all your data is not lost in case of a catastrophe.

 

Online Backup

The thing that we are trying to achieve is frictionless backup. In this method all your data is in your hard drive and in the cloud too. In this method, every slightest change that you make to the document, every photo, video or music you add to your collection is uploaded and safe in the cloud.

There is a minuscule chance that both your hard drive and data in the cloud would be hit simultaneous, in that case data will be least of your worries.

 

1. Picasa for all photos – Picasa resizes the photos to a slightly lower resolution but it gives you unlimited storage and the Picasa desktop software is great. Make it a point that whenever you import pictures into your computer, open Picasa and upload those pictures to your online drive. You also have the option to download any album you want from the cloud to your hard drive in case of a drive wipe.

And Videos – videos under 15 minutes do not take up any storage in Picasa which means you can upload unlimited videos to Picasa as long as they are under 15 minutes.

 

2. Google Music – 20000 songs sync for free…. Is awesome. By default Google Music always runs in the background checking your music library for change and uploading it immediately to the cloud when it finds one.

 

3. SkyDrive – 25 GB of SkyDrive is great and thanks to the new desktop app keeping data in sync is really simple. Use the documents folder inside SkyDrive to store all your documents and they will be in sync and safe in the cloud.

Am I missing anything here? Is there any way I can improve this setup? What system do you use to protect your data?