Backing Up Files—a Simple How-To

There is nothing more heart-wrenching than working all weekend on a ten-page research paper for a class that is extremely difficult, only to have your computer crash and your file disappear. In one way or another, it’s happened to most of us—we spill a cup of water and it seeps into the hard drive, or maybe our computer just won’t turn on and the paper is due in thirty minutes. To alleviate all panic, the best way to avoid these instances is to back up files in multiple places—the obvious, and the not-so obvious, are listed below:

USB Flash Drive:

falshdrive                                         Photo Credit: Teagan Bokanovich

We’re all familiar with these–
also called thumb drives, they are small data storage devices that connect to computers via a standard USB connection. This is one of the most convenient types of take-away storage—they are rewriteable, lightweight, and range widely in price depending on how much storage the user needs. These are available in the Champlain College bookstore for the needs of all students.

Portable/External Hard Drive:



There are many instances in which a computer-user needs more space than what a flash drive can handle. If you’re looking for a way to backup a few terabytes worth of material, or if you’re looking for a slightly larger storage system that you can keep for years and slowly add more content on to, then the portable hard drive may be the storage device that you’re looking for. Many hard drive manufacturers have platform-specific models—the different file systems of Macs and PCs may not be compatible with different hard drives, so be wary of this. Portable hard drives also come in a variety of prices—for as low as $50 or as much as $200, you can get the amount of space you are looking for without breaking the bank.

Renting Storage Space in a Cloud:

Cloud storage, or online storage where data is saved to a network that is hosted by a third-party, is another effective way to save documents. The hosting companies have large data centers where users can buy or lease storage capacity, or in some cases, the storage capacity is free if the user is taking up a limited amount of space. Cloud storage is a convenient way to access files—there is no physical hardware to bring along with you. As long as you have internet access, you can access your cloud storage.

Dropbox is one of the most popular forms of online storage for students. It’s a file hosting service where you can store your files, share your files via social networking websites, and access your files through a mobile app as well as the website.

dropbox                                            Photo Credit: Teagan Bokanovich

Every new account on Dropbox, including desktop and mobile apps, are free to the user. The user starts with 2 GB worth of space, and by referring your friends, you can earn even more free space. If you run out of space, you can upgrade your account with a monthly or yearly subscription.

Email and Blogging Services:

One final, and very simple, way to back up your documents is with email or blogging services. Finished with a paper? Email it to yourself, and place that email in a personalized folder. This is great for short-term storage and file transfer, as you can access these files quickly and easily from any available internet                                           Photo Credit: Teagan Bokanovich

Other websites, like Blogger or WordPress, are great for storing creative writing pieces, such as poetry or short works of fiction. This not only gives the writer an organized place to put his or her writing, but it also can give them some potential exposure to professionals in their major. That’s pretty cool!

wordpress                                                          Google Images 

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About champsupport

We are the Support Services Team at Champlain College, a consolidation of Media Services and the Computer Help Desk. Our intention is to provide you with a single point to access information related to your computer or AV needs.

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