Time to Back Up Again!

Hard Drive Image

The most important practice you can develop when using a laptop is backing up your work. Hard drives can fail or become corrupted. If this happens you can lose all of your important files. Please don’t wait until it becomes a problem (i.e., the night before a paper is due) and all of a sudden your files are gone. Here are steps to take to make sure this doesn’t happen to you. 

The Bare Minimum: The first step students should take to make sure this does not happen to them is to use Google Drive as much as possible. Since all Google tools and apps store files/work in the cloud, students can access their work anytime, anywhere, with any device. That means if a laptop hard drive fails, you still have access to all of the papers, videos, slide presentations, images, etc. in Google Drive. Google Drive allows you to upload all of the most commonly used file types (read this Overview to learn more) and has loads of space (30 GB). Additionally, Picasa (the free photo sharing site from Google) is great for storing videos and photos. We encourage you to take advantage of this free storage and backup system that comes with students’ hillers.org accounts.

 The Safer Bet: Google Drive can’t do it all. The best way to back up all of your files quickly is to purchase an external hard drive and use Time Machine, the built-in backup application that comes on your Mac. I would recommend buying a 500gb external drive or larger unless you are only going to save small files. You can purchase them from stores like Best Buy and Staples or you can get competitive prices with online retailers like Newegg and TigerDirect.

Once you have your external drive, follow these instructions for using Time Machine to back up your laptop: Time Machine Basics (video tutorial) and Mac Basics: Time Machine (how to site). 

There are also cloud solutions, which are convenient but can be more pricey over a long period of time. Many vendors charge by month or year and you can expect to pay at least $60/year. Here are some vendors to explore if you are interested: Carbonite, Dolly Drive, Justcloud, Sugarsync and Mozy

We encourage students to stop by the Tech Center if they need advice on backing up their Macbook Airs!

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