When it comes to backing up your computer and saving your important work, you have to first decide if you need to back up everything on your computer (your entire hard drive and all of it's contents, including your operating system), or if you just want to back up the things that are important to you such as the documents you create, email, photos, and other things that you don't want to lose.
There is software available that can “image" your entire hard drive (make an exact copy of everything on your hard drive, including your operating system), and save this copy to your existing hard drive or an external one. This way, if your system crashes, you can easily recover your entire system with the copy that was made. Most of these programs can be purchased for $50 or more. But this is not the only option available.
There are some very inexpensive and free options also available. For instance, if your computer has a cd rewriter, you can copy your important work, photos, email, etc. to a blank cd. These are very inexpensive and you get a lot of them for very little money.
Another option is to purchase a usb flash drive. These are miniature hard drives that can hold a lot of data. They plug right into the usb port on your computer and most of them are plug and play and very easy to use. At this writing, they are available with up to 8 gigabytes of storage space (that's a lot of space when you're just storing your important stuff). These little drives are incredible. Just plug it in and save your data to it. Unplug and carry it with you where ever you go. Also very inexpensive. About $12 or $15 or so, depending on how much storage space you want.
One more option. You can save your important work to an online email account such as hotmail. Hotmail is a free email account and I'm sure there are other free ones out there too. If you have an online email account you can send a copy of your important stuff to your email address. That way, if your computer crashes, you will still have your important stuff at your online email address. This is true because when you access an online account, your email is kept on their server and not downloaded to your computer. Also, you can access your information from any computer that can connect to the internet. Just log into your account and you're good to go.
Note: If you download your email to your computer with a program such as Outlook, and you lose all the information on your computer, you will lose all the emails in that program also, because it is no longer on your providers server. It was downloaded to your computer. That's why it's important to save your info to an online email account.
© Copyright 2008 Charles Garnett. All Rights Reserved Worldwide
Charles Garnett is the author of “7 Simple and Easy Ways to Keep Your Computer Running Fast, Clean, and Efficient-All the Time. And it won't cost you a Single Dime". For more free tips and articles and a free subscription to his monthly newsletter, visit http://www.keepcomputerrunning.com