This article will discuss how to backup to the cloud and give detailed instructions about how to set it up on your computer.
Cloud backup has become a popular way to protect all the data you have collected on your computer. It’s also one of the best ways to make sure that your files are available for you, no matter where you go.
Why Backup to the Cloud is important:
Backups to the cloud are very important because they allow you to recover your files even if your computer is damaged or lost/stolen. Backing up every day will ensure that you don’t lose your data, should something happen. Cloud storage can be extremely cheap, too – for around $5 per month one gets 1 TB of storage space, which is 10x more than you need for most casual users.
While cloud backups do not protect against physical damage to your drives (such as fire), they are still highly recommended because personal computer repair specialists don’t come cheap and it’s much better to restore an old version of a file or folder than to start from scratch. You can also use online storage to quickly transfer all your files from one computer to another, especially if the computers are from different manufacturers.
Your hard drive is a mechanical device that can die at any moment because it has moving parts, and cloud backups help protect against this sort of risk.
For example, you could be working on a very important document and your PC suddenly stops working – if you haven’t backed up your files, you can kiss them goodbye. That’s why cloud backups are so important: they give us the ability to always have a copy of our data and protect against loss or damage.
How to backup to the cloud
There are many ways how to backup to the cloud, but there are three methods that we will discuss in detail:
* Manual backups (software such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox)
* Programmable auto-backups (software such as CrashPlan or Backblaze)
* Cloud storage providers (such as Amazon S3).
How to backup to the cloud with Manual backups
If you choose to backup manually, then there are a few options for you: Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Each of these services can be used to back up your data in the cloud so that you always have a copy of all your files in case something happens to your computer.
You should know that these services do not protect against damage to your hard drive and they cannot recover files deleted from your computer, so it’s important to remember that these aren’t substitutes for true backup solutions. They are more like copies of all your data that you can access from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection.
Step 1 – Sign up with a service
Go to one of these sites and click the button that says “Sign up for free”.
Login with your new account. You will then be shown a list of previous folders available on your computer, along with an option to create more. To select which folders you want to backup, just tick them all or some of them. When you are done, click “ Next “.
Step 2 – Set up the backup drive to save your files
Choose where you want to store your backup data. You can choose an external hard drive or a folder on your computer. Then select how to encrypt your files (if you’re not sure, just stick with AES-128). Finally, follow the instructions to change the name of the backup drive, or you can just leave it as is. You don’t even have to use OneDrive for this step – you can choose any folder on your computer that’s easy to find.
Step 3 – Select what files to backup
Now comes the fun part: selecting which files to backup. On this screen, you can choose all the folders you selected in step 2, and then select what types of files to backup. If you want to be sure that you will have a copy of your big video files, then it’s best not to backup music or photos. It’s also important that if it came down to it, you could put your entire computer online in order to get your files, so having a lot of large files in the cloud is not recommended.
Step 4 – Manage your backup settings
On this screen, you can choose when and how often to run a backup. If you have very slow internet speeds, it might be wise to do them less frequently because they take quite some time to complete. It’s also best to let them run while you’re not using your computer or while you’re sleeping, but if that’s not possible then it’s ok to leave the program running in the background.
Step 5 – Run a backup!
When you click on “Run backup” there will be a pop-up window showing the progress. This screen will also show you how much data is being backed up. Remember that if you just want to backup your most important files (the ones you use most often) then it’s best not to backup photos or videos, but instead focus on documents and spreadsheets. When the backup is done, click “OK” and voilà! You’re done!
How to backup to the cloud with Programmable auto-backups
One of the most popular programs for backing up your files is called CrashPlan. The benefit of this program is that it’s free (though you will need to pay for additional features) and it can back up multiple computers, which could include all your family members’ laptops (provided they use the same operating system).
The first step in using CrashPlan is to connect your computers to the same network. Then go into each one’s settings and select the option that says “Backup my files”.
Step 1 – Sign up for an account
The first step in using CrashPlan is to sign up for a free CrashPlan account. Click on the button that says “Start My Free Trial” and a new window will open.
Step 2 – Add a computer
Log into your new account, then click on the button that says “Backup”. On this screen you can add a computer by using the drop-down menu which says “Add a Computer or External Drive to Your Plan.” You will be asked to select what operating system to use, and whether it’s a Mac or Windows computer.
Now select the type of backup you need: “Full” (everything backed up) or “Differential” (only files that have been since the last backup). Click on “Next”. Here you will be asked to upload something called your “pre-boot authentication key.” This is a long string of numbers and letters that will be used when backing up your files, so write it down and keep it in a safe place.
Step 3 – Select your computer and set up the backup
Once you have selected your computer type, select “My Own Computer” and then click on “Add this Computer.” You’ll be prompted to sign in to your computer, after which the backup process will begin.
After your first “full” backup is done, you can then select “Differential” backups by clicking on the option that says “I want to do a different type of backup”. When doing differential backups, CrashPlan will only back up files that have been created or changed since the last full backup.
Step 4 – Manage your backup settings
Once you have set up your backup for the first time, you will be taken to a screen showing “CrashPlan is backing up your files.” You can click on this to see more details about what’s going on and how much longer it will take to finish.
This is also where you can view and manage your backup settings. You can decide whether or not to back up in the background (while you’re using your computer), when to run the backups, how often they should be done etc. It’s always best to “Start Backup Now” before changing these settings (and even then, only if you want to do it immediately).
You’ll also find links to several different guides which can be very helpful if you want to learn more about CrashPlan and how to use it effectively.
Step 5 – Run a backup!
When you click on “Run Backup” there will be a pop-up window showing the progress of your backup. This will show you how much data is being backed up and whether any errors occurred during the process.
Remember that if you just want to backup your most important files (the ones you use most often) then it’s best not to backup photos or videos, but instead focus on documents and spreadsheets. When the backup is done, click “OK” and the pop-up will close. Your files have been saved to your computer’s external hard drive!
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How to backup to the cloud with Cloud storage providers
When choosing a cloud storage provider you will need to consider:
· What type of files to backup (Photos/Videos/Documents)
· Number of computers that will be backed up
· How many people will be sharing the same data
In terms of file types, if you want to backup photos and videos then using multiple services may be the best option for you. If both Google Drive and Dropbox can do what you need, then it’s probably worth setting them up individually (rather than using the one that offers 2GB of free storage). You will still retain an extra GB of storage on each service if you set it up this way, but remember to change your settings back once you have finished the backup process.
How to create your backup of files
Now you have your computer, external hard drive and selected a cloud storage service it is time to set up your first backup. The only thing you need to do is upload all the information from your external hard drive onto Google Drive/Dropbox/OneDrive respectively, so these providers are the most cost-effective.
The following section is for users with PCs, so if you have a Mac then skip to section 6 – Apple users ONLY below.
Step 1 – plug in your external hard drive and open up Windows Explorer or Finder
Here’s what you need to do: Plug in your external hard drive into your computer and make a note of where it is on your computer (for example “F:\”) Open up Windows Explorer, Finder, or File Manager depending on the type of computer you have.
Step 2 – open up your chosen cloud storage provider’s website and sign in
Now that you know what kind of files to backup and how many people are going to use the same data, you have to decide which service is best for you.
In this guide, we will be using Google Drive as an example because it offers 2GB of free storage space and has a native app that can be used on both PCs and Macs. The process for setting up your backup with Dropbox or OneDrive is very similar, so it should be easy to follow.
Log in to your chosen cloud storage provider’s website. Google Drive doesn’t have an app that you can download, instead, you open it up in your browser (https://drive.google.com/ ) Click the blue “New” button on the left-hand side of the screen Find where it says “Upload Photos and Videos” and click on it Go to where your external hard drive is located (for example “F:\”) and select the folder that you want to upload into Google Drive. You can then choose which files you want to backup by selecting them individually or choosing multiple folders at once.
Once this part is done, your backup should be ready to use on any of your devices!
If you ever want to update or create a new backup, just repeat steps 2-4.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What’s the best way to back up my files?
A: It depends on what devices you use, how many people need to access the data etc.
Q: How do I know if my files are safe?
A: You can check your security settings by logging in to the portal of your chosen provider. The ‘Security’ section should provide an answer to this question.
Q: Where is my data stored?
A: Google and Dropbox store it on their servers. OneDrive stores it on Microsft’s servers, but Google Drive does not – your files are stored locally unless you choose otherwise.
Q: How do I stop my automatic backup?
A: On the “Settings” page of your chosen cloud storage provider there should be a section called ‘Backup’ which you can navigate to and stop your backup there. Some services do not have this option, in which case you must just manually delete the files on your external hard drive or unplug it from your computer.
I hope this article on how to backup to the cloud was helpful, and if you have any questions then feel free to get in touch in the comments section below.
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