Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Backups on a Budget

Sometimes the questions readers write in with are worthy of your attention.. and the answers worthy of an article.

Q: Paul:
I have been following your tech advice for quite some time and recently watched the video of “Don’t be a Billy”. One of the subjects you are constantly telling your clients and readers is to back-up, back-up and back-up. Kind of like Real Estate, location, location, location.

My question to you is I can’t spend the money now on a portable hard drive. CD’s and thumb drives do not have the space to do a full system back up. What is the common person to do if we don’t have servers, or another means to do a back up?
~ L.C.

A: L.C.,
Yes. It’s true. Making a backup copy (on some other media than your hard drive) of your digital photographs, important digital documents, business-related emails, etc. is one of life’s DO IT! items — that nobody does.
FACT: computers/hard drives fail.
FACT: without a backup copy, your files can be gone for ever. Poof! Gone. (Or cost a thousand or so to “recover”.)
FACT: Do the right thing (now) so you won’t be sorry (later) – backup!

OK. To your question:
External hard drives (such as USB-attached) are quite affordable these days and are the preferred destination for large backups – for several reasons. (I have seen deals on these items recently that truly make them hard not to recommend. [<$60])

The next best alternative destination for most people is optical discs – CD’s or DVD’s. (I backup to both discs and an external drive, btw. The redundancy has saved my bacon more than once.) The easiest way to do that is to use a Backup program that allows you to point at your optical drive…

Macrium Reflect

.. as the place to Save to (aka “destination”). You will be prompted to insert blank discs until the backup session is completed; which, depending on the amount of data, can be several discs! (Especially the first backup.. the “full” one.) Be sure to label your burned discs properly.

If your version of Windows Backup, or your current Backup software, does not allow this, simply install one that does. I happen to use Macrium Reflect Free Edition for this job, but Easeus Todo Backup is another excellent choice. Both are free, and both are simple, wizard-driven tools.

So you see folks, there’s no excuse: back-up, back-up, and back-up!

[update: a comment came in I think you should see..

This article is probably some of the most important advice that can be given to a computer user.  Backup, backup and backup!” ~ Rick Robinette]

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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October 14, 2010 - Posted by | advice, Backups, computers, file system, how to, PC, security | , , , , , , ,


  1. TechPaul,

    I like your thinking. I love Macrium Reflect, it is FREE, and it works…

    This article is probably some of the most important advice that can be given to a computer user. Backup, backup and backup!



    Comment by Ramblinrick | October 15, 2010 | Reply

    • Rick,
      Have to agree with you, and thanks for your support. It is one of the ABC’s of computer ownership. To add some ‘oomph’ to the article (and hopefully spur more to action), I copy.pasted your line into the article body. Hopefully most of my readers are familiar with you and What’s On My PC.. by now.

      I think you’ll agree with this too (please let me know if you have a different choice): for advanced users – the disk “imaging” and/or “cloning” program I use is DriveImage XML.


      Comment by techpaul | October 15, 2010 | Reply

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