Home Users and Data Backup

data backupHome users should also backup to protect against drive failure, theft, and viruses, Data backups aren’t just for companies! There are many inexpensive backup solutions on the market today geared towards home and small business users depending on their needs. Investing in a backup solution can save you hundreds in repair costs and thousands in data recovery charges.

The first questions to ask are:

  1. How much data are you backing up?
  2. Is your computer stationary or mobile?
  3. How sensitive is your data? 

Online Backup services

If you don’t have much data (less than five gigabytes) and your data isn’t sensitive an internet backup service might be right for you. Most services offer monthly or annual contracts ranging from $5/month to $50/yr. After joining they provide you with an application that lets you choose which folders to backup. Most services will monitor for file changes and automatically backup files as needed.


  1. Data is stored offsite protecting you against fire/acts of god
  2. No extra hardware required
  3. Good for specific folders (my documents, email, etc)


  1. Slow backups, performing a full backup can take upwards of a day.
  2. Services have surcharges depending on bandwidth usage.
  3. Doesn’t backup the entire hard drive. 

Offline Backup Solutions

Unlike online backup services, offline backup solutions store data on an external hard drive or DVD media. These solutions make an image of your hard drive, meaning you can return the computer to exact state of the last backup, not just restore individual files, this is good if your drive fails or you’re infected with a virus. You can buy an external hard drive for under $200 and the software for between $50 and $99, some software will create a recovery partition so no external drive is necessary. Most programs will create a monthly full backup and daily incremental (what’s changed) backup, full backup’s take about an hour to complete and incremental backup’s take a few minutes. As the drive fills up it will delete the oldest full and incremental backup’s to make room for the new.

For stationary laptops and desktops its best to automatically backup to an external hard drive as it protects against drive failure and data loss. If your computer is mobile you can create a recovery partition on your hard drive for backups however it doesn’t protect against drive failure. If you don’t want to carry an external hard drive it’s best to manually run a backup to an external drive when you have a moment.


  1. Fast, secure backups
  2. Ideal for users with lots of data
  3. Allows for full system restores


  1. Backups are stored onsite.
  2. Requires an external hard drive.


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