How to decide what data to back up

How to decide what data to back up

Man using a desktop computer

There are many ways you can unintentionally lose information on a computer. A child playing the keyboard like a piano, a power surge, lightning, floods. And sometimes equipment just fails.

If you regularly make backup copies of your files and keep them in a separate place, you can get some, if not all, of your information back in the event something happens to the originals on your computer.

Deciding what to back up is highly personal. Anything you cannot replace easily should be at the top of your list. Before you get started, make a checklist of files to back up. This will help you determine what to back up, and also give you a reference list in the event you need to retrieve a backed-up file. Here are some file suggestions to get you started:

Bank records and other financial information

Digital photographs

Software you purchased and downloaded from the Internet

Music you purchased and downloaded from the Internet

Personal projects

Your e-mail address book

Your Microsoft Outlook calendar

Your Internet Explorer bookmarks

If you haven't already decided where you want to store your backup copies—external hard disk drive, CDs, DVDs, or some other storage format—and you want to know more about your options

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