Our computers have evolved to the point where most of us have a good portion of our lives stored on them.  Our documents, photos, videos, financial information and much more reside on our computers.  Keeping all of this important data backed up is critical if we don’t want to suffer a catastrophic loss at some point.

There are a number of backup types available which include file backups, image backups, differential backups, and incremental backups.  The goal of this site is to educate you as to the pros and cons of each of the different backup types.  We also want to make you familiar with the various media that can be used to store your precious data.  These include removable media, internal drives, external drives, network backup services, and cloud backup services.  We’ll try to point you to some of the best software around so you can back up your valuable data with confidence.

Backup Types

Image Backups

Image backups refers to creating a total image of the disk.  These images, or disk images, contain everything that’s on the drive.  Files, folders, programs, and Operating System.

File Backups

File backups refers to backing up the individual files and folders on your computer.

Differential Backups

differential backup is a backup that backs up only the things that have changed since the last full backup. This type of backup saves time and resources by limiting the amount of data that is backed up.   Restoring a differential requires that the full backup is available.  All of the top backup software supports differential backups.

Incremental Backups

Incremental backups are backups that back up only the things that have changed since the last backup.   The difference between a differential backup and incremental backup is simply the number of dependencies.  The differential is always based off a full backup and has one dependency (the full backup).  Incremental backups are a chain of backups starting with the full backup then each additional incremental  backup.  All of the top backup software supports incremental backups.

Storage Devices

There are a number of options available when it comes to storage media for storing your backups. In some cases your choice of storage media will depend on the size and frequency of your backups.

External and internal hard drives can be used easily. These may consist of traditional hard drives or the newer SSD and NVMe drives.

Another option is Flash memory devices like USB thumb drives which can be referred to as UFD  or USB Flash Drives. These have gotten progressively larger and some will be available in 1 terabyte sizes later this year.

Optical storage media like CDs, DVDs, or BDs can be a popular choice for housing your backups. These come in various sizes and  rewriteable media types can be reused if you wish.

Many businesses use NAS or Network Attached Storage, but it’s also becoming an option in homes that have multiple computers.  You can also use tape drives for your backup and there’s also cloud storage which has become very popular.

This gives you a wide range of backup storage options to choose from!

Removable Media

Removable media is any media that can be  physically removed from the computer or storage device. This would include things like floppy disks, CDs and DVDs, tape cartridges, and the like.

Internal Drives

Internal drives refers to any drive that is housed within the computer. These include floppy drives, hard drives, SSD drives, tape drives, and optical drives.

External Drives

External drives are any drives that reside outside the computer. These include external hard drives and SSD drives, as well as tape drives and external optical drives.

Network Storage

Network Storage is used when you backup your data to drives that are located on other devices or computers across a network. Network Attached Storage or NAS are specialized small computers with drives for backing up all the data on your network. Traditional network file servers are another example. This backup method is particularly popular in businesses that do their work from a network.  All of the top backup software supports network storage.

Cloud Backup

Cloud backup refers to backing up your data to any number of available cloud services.  Using cloud services is a form of network backup except the computer is located across the internet and maintained by the provider of the service. These include sites like Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, and many more. This type of backup has become popular because the storage is easily accessible and the storage amount can be increased easily. In addition, when you use cloud backup your backed up data is stored off site.

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