Backing up explained

Rachel explains the best methods of backing up and sharing your data.

Backing up explained

Rachel explains the best methods of backing up and sharing your data, from CDs and DVDs to USB flash drives and external hard drives. What should you be using?

Floppy Disks
Not only are floppy disks very out of date, most computers made after 2010 won’t run them, even if you have an external floppy disk drive which you plug in through a USB port. If you have any other option, do not use a floppy disk. It’s not worth your time.

CDs
Compact Discs, better known as CDs, were originally developed to play music. They have since been adapted to data storage. In order to use a blank CD to store information, your computer must have a CD burner. There are two types of CD.

CD-Rs can only be used once. After you have ‘burned’ your data on to them they cannot be overwritten, added to or used to do anything but read the information you loaded them with.

CD-RWs are rewriteable CDs. If you leave your ‘session’ open, you can add files to a CD which already has files on it. If your ‘session’ is closed, you can only write over the CD, wiping any data which was previously on it. Either way, they can be used multiple times. They are, however, notoriously difficult to use, and are more likely to lose information or be unreadable by another person’s computer than a CD-R.

A standard CD will hold approximately 700Mb of data. This equates to two short mid-grade television episodes, 300 photos taken on a smartphone or an album’s worth of music. They are cheaper than DVDs, and thus can be a good way to give photos to friends and family.

CDs will supposedly last for up to 40 years, but one scratch is enough to corrupt the data, so ensure that if you are storing precious family photos you have more than one backup.

DVDs
DVDs are similar to CDs in almost every way, except that they store much more data. They also come in a once-only type, DVD-R, and a rewriteable type, DVD-RW.

DVDs hold 4.7Gb, or almost seven times more data than a CD. They are better for storing larger files, such as videos or many high-resolution photos. Much like CDs they will deteriorate, especially if left in extreme temperatures, however, they supposedly have a longer shelf-life than a CD. As neither CDs or DVDs have been around long enough to test the shelf-lives out, nobody knows for sure how long your data will last on these disks. Again, beware of scratches.


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    COMMENTS

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    Colours
    15th Oct 2013
    12:40pm
    I use a USB drive which I keep in my wallet to back up my documents. I use a free piece of software called Allway Sync which checks which files have changed and just updates those / adds new ones / deletes old ones.

    I use an external hard drive for music, pictures, videos etc. Sync that too, but less often.

    A lot of people will use their email now - most free emails come with 1Gb or more of storage, so if you only have a few important files you can just keep emailing yourself the latest version. It is of course stored on the server of Gmail or Hotmail or whoever you use.
    Trish
    15th Oct 2013
    2:11pm
    Interesting article. But why show a picture of floppy disks, then start with 'these are out of date' - they can't be bought, or played, etc?? Piccies of USBS would be better option!
    Mrs Hedgehog
    15th Oct 2013
    4:24pm
    Stroing and backing up has never been a problem. The trouble is that now I have lots and lots of old files that are unreadable because the programs (Adobe, Macromedia, Microsoft etc) and operating systems (Mac) have changed so much over the years. It would be very nice if they made some plug-ins available to translate these files.
    Londoner
    15th Oct 2013
    9:01pm
    Floppy discs might be an out of date method of storage but I use them to backup my Microsoft Money programme (now called Money Plus as a free download from Microsoft) on my computers, one of which is about 12 months old and running Windows 7 Home Premium.

    CD-RW's have a problem, as mentioned, that there are only so many times you can backup to before they lock up and have to be formatted.

    My current method of backup is using Clickfree (Transformer in my case)attached to my own external HDD but I was interested to read Colours post about Allway Sync, which I must investigate.
    Londoner
    15th Oct 2013
    9:41pm
    I have now had a chance to investigate the Allway Sync programme. CNET Download have given it a good review but I read that at least one reviewer has said that the free version is limited with its capacity and stated that it will only handle around 7000 files before it locks ups.
    The Allway Sync website says that the free version is for moderate users - to go beyond that costs around $26.
    Giles
    18th Oct 2013
    7:18am
    Does Allway Sync work with Macs?


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