Backing up a home or work computer is a critical part of working with IT. Sadly for most, it goes unappreciated until the first time data is lost. In this knowledge base article, we aim to cover backing up the entire computer in to an image, setting a schedule for it to take place regularly without requiring user involvement. We will then show you how to setup a cloud based up to the second backup system to avoid work done that same day. No paid for software is required, beyond the inclusive backup system in Windows and OS X. Cloud based backup systems give a small amount of storage free, which should suffice for day to day working documents.
Windows PC or Laptop ‘Image Backup’
Since Windows Vista, Microsoft has bundled in a very effective ‘image backup’ system, which allows use of an external USB hard drive to make an image backup (also known as Snapshot) of the entire state of the computer as of the time the backup was made. The benefit to this is twofold; Microsoft wants users to be able to fix computers software problems even if the computer cannot boot in to windows, and also make it very simple to perform if rolling the computer back to a previous state without the need to first install a clean copy of Windows.
Windows Vista & Windows 7
- On Vista and 7, Open Backup and Restore by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking Backup and Restore.
- On Vista and 7 click Set up backup, and then follow the steps in the wizard. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
- On Windows 8, press the windows key and search for Control Panel and select Recovery.
- On Windows 8, click Create a recovery drive and then follow the steps in the wizard. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
We recommend that you don’t back up your files to the same hard disk as you plan to backup.
For a full backup that will not fill up the backup disks capacity too rapidly, we recommend using a USB hard drive with far more capacity than a daily backup would include. The total storage capacity of all hard disk drives being backed up should add up to at least the USB Backup Disk.
Power management can be configured to wake the computer up and perform the backup, if you let your computer sleep rather than shut it down. Ideal for setting the backups to take place at late at night.
OS X Time Machine backup ‘Image backup’
Setting up Time Machine is a simple process of plugging in an external drive to your Mac via Thunderbolt, FireWire or USB.
If you haven’t specified a Time Machine backup previously, the device being connected will prompt for you to make a decision.
Once done, you will be configured to automatically backup to the external drive through the Time Machine application. To change scheduled settings or preferences, you can open Time Machine application in the System Preferences
- Choose “Use as Backup Disk” to confirm you want to use the drive for Time Machine backups. Time Machine preferences opens with this drive selected as your backup destination.
- Check “Encrypt Backup Disk” if you want to encrypt the Time Machine backup external disk using FileVault 2 (OS X Lion and later).
For a full backup that will not fill up the backup disks capacity too rapidly, we recommend using a USB hard disk with far more capacity than a daily backup would include. The total storage capacity of all hard disk drives being backed up should add up to at least the USB Backup Disk.
OS X is very efficient at backing up, so allowing it to do so during operation will not dramatically slow the Mac down.