World Backup Day: Better to backup too much than too little

Desktop PCs, laptops, smartphones, digital cameras – almost everyone owns and uses these devices, where we store data on a daily basis. Vacation photos, important notes, documents, calendars, contacts and the like. Often these data have a strong personal value that can not be measured in monetary terms. Would be a pity if this user data lost by a mistake. And you have to expect such an error. At any time – and usually unexpected. Reason enough to say a few words about backups on the occasion on the coming  „World Backup Day“?

Data lost in the orcus

That was the penultimate year in May – and suddenly the home PC was no longer bootable. A hardware error or the file system was corrupt. Result: The user data was lost in the data core – including the large photo collection called holiday memories. It can go so fast. And a backup did not exist. What to do? To the specialist in data recovery – yes, no problem, said that. But the price called for that made one hesitate.

Create backups!

The above experience can meet everyone. So: rather a backup than none. Reason and time to think about a basic data backup.

Which threats should a backup actually protect?

  • Files accidentally deleted
  • hardware failure
  • File system corrupt
  • theft
  • Local disasters, such as Apartment fire, floods, etc.

Basically, a backup consists of the copies of the original original files. This requires an external disk to which the files are finally copied. An external hard drive, for example, a second internal hard drive or, if necessary, a USB stick.

But obviously that’s not enough – with „local disasters“ external data carriers do not help. The most convenient option to solve this problem: This data can also be stored online via an online service; There are then usual suspects, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, etc. A disadvantage of these solutions: The private data is then at a free service provider.

The basic backup

First of all, you have to be clear about the time interval in which you want to save your data. Because: Everything starts with a manual creation of the backups. Here everyone has to decide for themselves how far this can be done. A certain discipline is necessary.

Very quickly it is clear: it costs time and effort. Assuming there are 14 days between backups, because you forgot a timely second backup – and only on the 16th day you finally secured the data. As a rule, you will choose the simple variant and copy the corresponding folders from A to B. Result: You copy all old and newly added data again. And that takes time.

Create Basic Backups: Automated, Differential, or Incremental?

An automated backup is exactly what everyone wants. In addition there are many free programs, in which one can adjust both the temporal interval of the backups and also the kind of the data security. What you want to do is to back up only the data that has been added or changed since the first backup. That saves time. An overview of different types of data protection can be found here. Important: Also a backup wants to be tested. So the first backup is best to go back to another path of the hard drive and see if all files have arrived safely.


If you rely on external storage media or online backups and regularly carry out your backup strategy, chances are that you will not lose your data. Important: The options described here are only a basic way to back up data. It will be really chic, if you consider the possibilities of modern file systems, such as Zfs or Btrfs uses: Automatically create snapshots of the file system, create checksums for each file, so that the file system can then inform about corrupt files, etc. But for the average end user, this is still a dream of the future; he will probably have to wait until these techniques find their way into common operating systems. Nevertheless, there is no way around the additional storage media.