Best Practices for File and Data Management


A lot of your work and personal life "lives" on your computer. While most of the time, everything works well, accidents happen and can leave your computer's data damaged or lost. The damage can come from flooding, spilling coffee on your device, accidentally deleting files, or losing your device.

Many scenarios can render data useless, making your computer inaccessible. That is why experts highly advise that you backup your data to an external hard drive so that you don't lose important personal or work data.

Why Backup Your Data?

Data is essential, whether it is work or personal. Data could be in the form of working documents, private photos, financial information, project files, or anything that you generate and store on your computer. If you save this or any data on your computer, it is relatively safe, but there are occasions when something can go wrong and damage or compromise your data.

Data loss can be a result of:

  • Accidental deletion
  • Damage to computer hardware
  • Theft of your computer
  • Corruption of data due to a virus
  • Ransomware encrypting your data
  • Computer crash

Having a backup ensures that if you lose the data on your computer, you will have the means to recover it. The backup must be on a different device and outside of your network. That way, if the compromise is due to an indiscriminate accident like a virus or electrical surge, then your backup won't be affected.

Backing up data on the cloud is a rising trend.
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It's usually more convenient and cost-effective, but many people still prefer a reliable external hard drive.

Choosing an External Hard Drive

The process of choosing which external drive to use for your backups starts with whether you're saving personal data or more sensitive work data. 

Hard drive storage capacity is probably the most crucial aspect of finding a new hard drive. You don't want to get anything too small since it won't last before it becomes full, and you don't want to get anything too big since that will be a waste of money.

In order to determine what you need, take a look at your type of files and usage history. Document files are usually small, while media files can be large, some file types can be burdensome on storage. The capacity to buy also depends on the device you want to use it on. PCs have multiple ports for you to add storage, while laptops have limited space. So a PC can endure having multiple hard drives of varying capacity, while a laptop can only have one.

Hard drives are measured by their revolutions per minute (RPM). The RPM on an average computer is 5,400 RPM. The more RPM a hard drive has, the faster it processes data. RPMs close to or above 10,000 are usually for users who need a lot of processing power, such as gamers.

The Backup Process

Backing up your data to a hard drive is relatively simple, but it can take some time, depending on how much data you have and which hard drive you chose.

On Windows:

  • Usually, when you plug the hard drive in for the first time, Windows will ask if you want to use it as a backup. If you don't get that prompt, you can type "backup" in the search box and click on Backup and Restore.
  • Then click on the "Set Up Backup" button. Choose the external hard drive in the options. Most of the default settings are fine, so just click through this stage.
  • Then click "Save Settings and Run Backup."
  • Once finished, Windows will immediately make its first backup of your drive. Do not switch off your computer during this stage.

On Mac:

  • After plugging in the hard drive, you get a prompt asking if you want to use the hard drive as a backup, click "Use as Backup Disk." If the prompt does not appear, then go to system Presences and click Time Machine.
  • Then click on "Select Backup Disk" and choose your external drive.
  • OS X will proceed to perform its first backup, do not switch your computer off during appeal backup.

Getting Help to Understand Your Hard Drive

If you need help determining which hard drive is right for you or backing up your data to a hard drive, a high-quality computer repair company can help you. Working with professionals can help ensure that your data is safe and that you have chosen the best hard drive for your data management needs. Technicians can also show you how to backup laptops or desktops to an external hard drive.

Backup to Your Future

There is no way to know what will happen to your computer. Even if you are careful, it can still get stolen, damaged, or attacked by a virus. To protect what you have, and make your life less stressful, get an external hard drive for backups. It will let you secure what is essential and enable you to continue with your life or work should the unexpected happen.