Windows 7 Backup why and when
Before you begin, it is important to know a little more about the backup because it is not enough to rush on what is best in terms of hardware or software. The best basis has not the slightest value if the backup is not running properly, if the strategy is not needed or if the restore fails. So we reviewed some essentials.
Ideally, we should not even ask this question. Anyone who attaches so little importance to its data must take the necessary measures to prevent them from being corrupted, damaged or lost. Each of the different storage media available, whether hard drives, optical drives or flash memory-based substrates, have their advantages and disadvantages, why recommend one over the other without context is meaningless. By cons, we can safely say that rely on a single carrier is a bad idea: it is always better to different backups on different media, and ideally stored in different locations. Why save, then? Because all storage media can fail and because it is always possible that we modify or supprimions by accident something important. To avoid disaster, no choice but to expect the unexpected.
Unlike the “why”, “how” is a very good question for backup. We have already mentioned the importance of using different media in order to have several different backup sets, which is useful when one of them comes to breaking down. For example, suppose you make your regular backups to an external hard drive (like our Hitachi Rugged Portable). You can do this manually (if you feel sufficiently organized and conscientious), use a backup program or if you are a little more versed in the art to use a script. In addition to the regular backup, it may be advisable to copy your key data to another location or to another medium, for example a series of recordable DVD. It is very important to ensure that your backups can not be changed; DVDs are perfect in this respect (except rewritable, of course), but it is also possible to use several cheap disk and store them in a safe place. This last point is important: it is indeed highly recommended to have an offsite backup.
You can back up only certain data or copy the entire system, the latter option is often used in preparation for a restoration after a total crash, for example in case of hard drive failure. Just then replace the defective disk, insert the boot disk that came with the backup software then indicate to it the location of the backup set to be used (eg a USB hard drive or network share ); the software then takes to restore the system from A to Z.
Backups can be complete, which means that all selected files are included in the backup set; differential, in which case only the changed files since last full backup are copied; or incremental, meaning that only changed files are duplicated since the last backup available, it does not necessarily have to be complete.
The backup strategy is another extremely important. Incremental backups are economic (they use less space), but it remains necessary to ensure data security; if you regularly incremental backups but the last full backup was in too long, your data at risk due to deterioration thereof. We recommend the use of incremental backups as frequently as possible (the exact frequency depending on the value you place on your data) accompanied by regular full backups. Do not overwrite an old backup if you are absolutely sure not to need them.
A word about data security: if some of your files are confidential, it may be useful to place them in an encrypted container using a type of utility TrueCrypt and to ensure that the container is stored or call on the encryption feature of your backup software, if you consider it reliable. Finally, it is important to check your backups: to do this, you can check whether the files were written by the backup software and / or make a restoration attempt. This will certainly take some time, but the best backup procedure is worthless if you encounter problems during the restoration.
Unless you are not subject to technical or personal constraints, whatever the time at which you are backing up. Technically, however, it may be preferable to run backups during certain slots less responsible, for example at night when you are not using the computer; This is particularly advisable if the amount of data is sufficient for the backup process takes several hours. For individuals, the ideal time for making backup can be for example the evening before turning off the computer.
At what frequency ?
The goal is to have enough restore points. To achieve this, for example you can perform an incremental backup every day and crush the end of the week. This should always be accompanied by a full backup, you can for example perform each week and crush every month. This should give you sufficient security, at least as long as you store your backup sets in a safe place or at several different locations.