Backing up your digital data files is an effective way to preserve important information on your computer. Making copies and storing them in cloud storage, external drives, and discs can help you secure them for years to come. Just follow the 7-step guide below and you’ll be able to back up all your files in no time.
How to Back Up Your Digital Data Files | A 7-Step Guide
Step 1: Round Up Digital Data Files
Before learning how to preserve your digital data, you first have to round-up the files you want to keep. Important emails, apps, documents, photos, and videos are all examples of digital data you might want to save for future use.
Step 2: Convert the Files to Archival Format
Usually, when you create files on Photoshop or Microsoft Office, these programs save your work in proprietary formats like .psd or .docx. The problem with proprietary formats is they can only be opened with specific paid programs. You may be able to access them now, but with the fast-paced advances in technology, these programs may not even exist in the near future.
To make sure you’ll still be able to open your files, it’s best to convert them into a more accessible format. So once you’ve decided which files to preserve, the next step is to convert them from proprietary to open formats. Here’s a list of the different types of digital data formats you can convert into open formats:
- Images: Portable Network Graphics (.png), Graphics Interchange Format (.gif), JPEG (.jpeg), Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg)
- Videos: Matroska Multimedia Container (.mkv), MPEG-2 (.mpg)
- Text Documents: Comma-separated Values for spreadsheet files (.csv), Open Document Text for general text files (.odt), Portable Document File (.pdf)
Step 3: Choose a Storage Medium
After gathering all your files and converting them into open formats, it’s time to choose a secure place to keep them in. Nowadays, there are many storage mediums you can choose from:
- Cloud storage allows you to back up your files on an online Internet server. Popular examples of cloud storage services include Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and iCloud.
- External hard drives are also a good choice for storing your data files. You can get a reasonably-priced hard drive with a storage capacity up to 1 TB.
- Backing up your files in a USB Flash Drive is also a good way to go. Think of them as smaller and travel-friendly versions of external hard drives.
- You can also back up your files in CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs. They may be considered old-fashioned, but the beauty about these discs is they’re widely available and affordable.
Step 4: Check for Storage Capacity
When you’ve chosen a storage medium for your backup files, check its storage capacity. Storage capacity for most hard drives and flash drives are measured in megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB), or terabytes (TB).
Make sure the storage capacity of your backup device is at least twice as large as your files. For example, if all your files take up 5 MB of storage space on your computer, try to get a backup drive that can accommodate at least 10 MB of digital data.
Step 5: Back Up the Digital Data
Once you’ve selected a device with sufficient storage capacity, you can proceed to save your files into it. This step varies depending on the device you chose, but generally, all you need to do is to plug the drive (or in the case of a disc, insert) into your computer, copy (Ctrl + C for Windows and Command + C for iOS) the digital data files on your personal folders, and paste (Ctrl + V for Windows and Command + V for iOS) them into the backup drive.
Step 6: Make a Copy of the Backup
To ensure the safety of your digital data files, it’s best to choose two different storage mediums. For example, if you chose to back up your files in an external hard drive, you should also have a copy of these files in cloud storage.
Step 7: Do Backups Regularly
The last step in preserving your digital data is to regularly back up those files. It’s best to recopy your files into cloud storage, hard drives, flash drives, or discs on a weekly basis. This way, you can protect your files from physical damages as well as from computer virus attacks.
You now know how to preserve your digital data files. With these seven steps, you’ll be able to safeguard your most important files for future use. Make sure to set a day in the week for saving your pictures, videos, and documents into a storage device so you can keep your backup files up-to-date.
Have you tried backing up your files in a USB Flash drive? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below!