All media that contain data, such as hard drives, USB sticks, SSDs, magnetic media, CDs, and DVDs, have different reliabilities. But they are all devices. And all devices, even very reliable ones, can fail. All computer users should be careful with backups.
What is a backup?
Not everyone understands what a backup is and what it does. We must clearly understand that there are different backups, but generally, they are a copy of some data. Using computing terminology, there are file backups and disk images.
Backup – backup backups
We will talk about how to create a backup and restore the backed-up files to our PC.
Disk Backup or File Copy
The disk backup (system image or Windows image) is a copy of the entire disk volume, the disk partition where Windows is installed. Very significant disk space is required to store such a copy, comparable to the whole disk space. Backing up a complete volume can take much longer than dealing with specific files. As an advantage of this operation, we can discuss the possibility of quickly restoring the operating system and installing programs.
File backup is a copy of files on a disk created at a given time. Typically, the PC user is not interested in keeping a copy of Windows because it can be reinstalled without hassle. Business documents, accounting databases, personal photos and videos, emails, program settings, and more are far more critical to the user. This way requires much less disk space than dealing with an entire disk. You can set the backup task only once and not worry about your critical data in the future.
Each kind of backup has its advantages and disadvantages. File backup is often used because it is a less expensive, simpler and quicker way to prevent important files from being unexpectedly lost. Information on creating a system backup can be found on the Internet.
What are the ways to create backups?
There are four ways to create copies, which we explain below.
1. Copy files manually (from one folder to another) without using any utility or tool.
Advantages: You don’t have to install anything. You open two windows (with the source folder and the destination folder), select the necessary directories and drag them from one window to another.
You must often get distracted from your current tasks to copy work documents.
You can forget about backing up on time (human factor)
Complexity and inconvenience in the copy management
2. Copy files using. BAT
BAT files are executable files of the Windows operating system. They are in plain text format and can run a script, including copying files from one folder to another. This way can be called semi-automatic because, typically, bat files are executed manually and are much worse than automatic backup programs.
Advantages: You do not need any software. Create a .bat command file and set the Task Scheduler in the Windows control panel to run a .bat at a particular time.
Disadvantages: You need to have some knowledge and time to create .bat files, which are less flexible and functional than specialized backup software.
3. Backup Utilities
Specialized programs are usually used to perform automatic backups. They are more convenient to use and have many features. In general, they are not free software; however, as a rule, their price is not high. Such programs take care of timely backup of your data and are created on the “set and forget” principle.
Wide variety of functions: built-in filer, scheduler, duplication of created copies
Easy to use friendly interface for backup management
Complete control of backup creation: process visualization, ability to cancel, comprehensive logging, email or SMS notifications in case of problems, etc.
It takes a long time to execute a task
The operation usually requires system administrator privileges
Free disk space is needed to store drive images (snapshots).