Backing up your computer files should be something you are doing on a regular basis. Our lives are filled with digital photos, videos, financial files, and all the other documents that took us time to create.
All it takes is one crashed hard drive to lose it all. With so many inexpensive options for backing up your data and memories, there is no reason not to have a backup plan in place.
Photo Backup Options
Out of all the files on our hard drive, the most tragic files to lose would be our pictures. I have digital pictures that are almost 20 years old. I could not imagine losing pics of when my kids were little or of family and friends who are no longer here.
There are several free photo backup services that will allow you to automatically upload your pics to a cloud service and they are good indefinitely.
If you download the Amazon Photos app you can tell it to automatically backup the pictures and videos on your phone. So if your phone is lost or stolen, you will still have access to all your pictures.
Google Photos is another great way to back up your pics. They give you 15GB free and if you need more storage you can purchase monthly plans starting at $1.99. However, there is a catch. Although they give you 15GB free, this is total storage for your Google account. So if you use Google Drive for your files and Gmail for your email, that storage counts against your total.
In addition to backing up your photos, you probably have a slew of other files that you need to backup. These could be financial, tax, and legal documents, videos, and other memories. There are free and paid services available. Most of the free services will only give you a certain amount of free storage. If you are looking to back up all of your data, the free version probably won’t be enough space.
Dropbox offers a free trial, but no longer offers indefinite storage options. Their basic personal service is $9.99 per month for 2TB of storage.
If you have a Microsoft (@outlook.com) email account you can get 5GB of storage for free from OneDrive. If you need more than that, there are monthly plans to sign up for. However, if you purchase Office 365 Home you can get 1TB for each user that is connected for an annual fee.
Box primarily caters to businesses, but they also offer individual plans. You can get 10GB of storage for free, but they limit the file upload size to 250MB. So if you have any large video files, this won’t be a good free plan for you.
With an Amazon Prime membership, you can get up to 10GB of free storage for files and videos.
This is the same as Google Photos. Your Google Drive account is good for up to 15GB of free space for all of your files.
External Hard Drives
Many guys aren’t comfortable having their personal data hosted on a company server located in God-Knows-Where. There are several options for keeping your data close to you and stored where you know it will be safe.
Western Digital MyCloud
My favorite storage device is my Western Digital (WD) MyCloud. This is basically an external hard drive that you access from the Internet. So this is like having your own personal file server that only you have access to. You can grant access to folders and files within it, or you can keep it completely locked down. There is a one-time charge for the drive, but there are no monthly fees!
Samsung SSD T5
If you are looking for a lightweight, reliable, fast, and high-capacity storage option, the Samsung T5 portable SSD drive is what you want! This tiny little drive can store up to 2TB of data and uses SSD technology so there are no moving parts in the hard drive which makes it highly durable and reliable.
Maybe you do a lot of video editing. If this is the case you will want something that has some serious capacity. The G-Technology G-Drive comes in 10TB and 20TB options. The price is a bit hefty, but you will have all the storage you’ll ever need (for now).
There are several options for storing all of your files. The size and type of drive you use are completely up to you. I probably have a total of 3TB of data that I keep backed up across 3-4 devices. I also have a backup of my backup (just in case one drive fails I won’t lose everything) I keep my pictures backed up in the Amazon cloud since it’s unlimited storage that I can access from anywhere with my Prime account.
It’s a good idea to go through your files at least once per year and purge anything that you don’t need anymore. You should also come up with a file structure so that your files are easy to find. Most of my files are organized by year, and then I have more descriptive folders from there. However, you decide to structure your files is up to you. As long as you are backing up your data, you are good to go!