Sooner or later you will suffer a disk disaster. It might be a small one and just a few files or lost, or it could be a big one that wipes out the whole disk. Are you prepared?
You need a backup plan and a strategy to cope with the worse that might happen. The odds are that it won’t, but like an insurance policy, you will be glad you have it in the event of a serious disk problem.
For this guide I will be using Paragon Backup & Recovery 16 and I already looked at creating a single backup job here.
This software is free until the end of October 2016, so go to the Paragon website and download a copy and install it on your PC. I will assume that you have registered it (see that first article), so plug in a USB disk drive and you are ready to begin.
1 Create a backup job
The left panel has several backup and restore options. Select Create backup job and on the right is the welcome message. There are tabs along the top and this is the first.It is a wizard that guides you through setting up a backup job to save the files on the PC’s disk.
2 Backup title and description
On the next tab you can enter the title and description of the backup job, which helps you to locate the right backup when you need to restore files. The suggestions are fine, but you can replace them if you want. Click Next to continue.
3 Back up disks or files
Select the source for the backup. You can choose to back up the whole computer, a disk or partition, types of files, or files and folders. A good option to choose is the C:\Users folder because this contains pretty much everything that is important on the disk. Everything else, such as software or even Windows itself, can be replaced.
4 Set the backup target
Where do you want to store the backup? A good choice is a USB disk drive because they are big and affordable. Drives of 1TB are common at the bottom end of the market and even 2TB drives aren’t that expensive. I’m going to choose external drive E:\
5 Pick a backup schedule
There are four backup options and Daily Backup is the best one. A full backup is made on day one, then incremental backups are made for the next six days. Then it’s a full backup again. This is automatic.
The On demand Backup option will only run when you tell it to. You must open the program and click the backup job to start it. Ignore this because you will forget!
Weekly Backup will automatically back up your files once a week. This means that if you back up on a Sunday and the disk crashes on Thursday, you will lose every file since the backup was created - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It is more risky, but appropriate for people that use their computer only occasionally, perhaps for email and web browsing.
One Backup is an automatic daily backup, but it is a complete backup, which is slow compared to an incremental backup, and today’s backup overwrites yesterday’s.
Daily Backup is the best option. Select it and click Next.
6 Set compression options
Compressing the backups saves space on the target - the USB disk. However, it takes longer to back up when the files have to be compressed. There are None, Fast, Normal, and Maximum.It’s your choice - do you want speed or space saving?
7 Set it going
That’s it. All that remains is to start it off. There is an option to create the first backup right now or you can leave it to the automatic schedule.
Provided your USB disk is powered up and plugged in, backups will be automatic and will happen in the background without you noticing. The computer can be used while it is backing up, so there is no down time.