The worst situation that could happen to any person with a computer is the complete and total loss of the files that they hold dear. All it takes is one unfortunate power outage, one hard drive failure, or even one particularly malicious piece of computer malware to completely ruin everything.
Let’s run through a few ways that you could accomplish this while focusing on the advantages and disadvantages of each.
1. Burning Your Files to a Disc
You can backup files relatively easily with Windows 7, as there are a few built-in tools that allow you to do so. The most readily available of these tools is the CD/DVD burning functionality.
Using it to backup computer Windows 7 is fairly easy. You need only to do the following, provided that you have a CD or DVD drive capable of burning discs:
- Click Start, then Computer
- Open your CD/DVD Drive
- Insert a blank, writable Disc
- Drag and drop the files you want to burn to the drive window
- Follow the Wizard to Burn Files
Advantages and Disadvantages of Burning Files to a Disk for Backup
The advantages of burning your files to a disk are listed below:
- It’s easy to do and available. Almost every modern OEM PC comes with a DVD burner, and picking up a new one only costs about $20. The cost of disks are generally just as cheap, which means that you’ll be able to do this on a budget.
- Your data is as secure as you make it. This means that your data is as secure as your physical media. If you put it in a fireproof safe, then that means sensitive information will be out of the hands of prying eyes.
- Your data is permanent. When you finalize a CD or DVD that you’ve burned, then that’s it. You’ll only ever lose the data if the disk becomes damaged. Viruses can’t overwrite your data, even if you use it in an infected PC.
While there are a number of advantages that this method brings to backup files Windows 7, it also has a few disadvantages that you should be aware of. They’re listed below:
- You have limited space. CDs only hold about 700MB and DVDs hold about 4.7GB. You’ll need to split your data up and to use multiple disks if you have a large amount of files to burn, which can further complicate the process.
- You need to us ea new disk each time. While the cost of each disk is minor, it will eventually add up. You’ll need a new one for every job that you finalize, which means that every new file and every new version of a file needs to be backed up on a brand new disk.
2. Using Google Drive
Google drive is a free, cloud-based solution provided by Google that lets you store files, photographs and anything else that you need online. The web interface provides an easy and succinct way to upload your files, just like it does to download them.
There are still limitations to it, as will be discussed shortly. The major advantage of using Google Drive is that it is tied to your Google account, which means that your files are safe so long as your Google account remains private.
To use Google Drive, all you have to do is the following:
- Log in to your Google account. You can do this by logging in to Gmail, Google+ or any of the Google services.
- Visit drive.google.com.
- Click “Upload”. There will be an arrow next to this button that allows you to have a greater degree of control pertaining to how you upload your files.
- Alternatively, you can drag and drop your files to your Google Drive window. This is only supported in browser like the latest Google Chrome, Firefox or Opera.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Backing up Your Files Using Google Drive
Google Drive provides a number of unique advantages for backing up your files. They are:
- No physical media to worry about. This means that your files are stored externally in a relatively secure location, though this does not make them unreachable by the wrong type of individual.
- You can upload using any supported browser. Your files persist even if your computer doesn’t. If your computer happens to face a catastrophic failure, you’ll still be able to download and restore your files on a new PC just by downloading them.
- You probably won’t lose your data. Google has numerous systems in place that ensure your data is protected. While this puts the details of privacy in a foggy area, this does mean that your data will likely be there even after a catastrophic event.
Not everything about using Google Drive to backup files Windows 7 is perfect. Below is a list of some of the disadvantages that you should know before using it:
- Your files are only as secure as your account. One stolen password and the wrong people could have your sensitive information. This should be even more of a worry if you suspect that you computer has malware or other software that can monitor your keystrokes to steal your passwords.
- Google Drive can feel clumsy. Most people prefer to store their backups in compressed files rather than folders when using Google Drive due to the fact that it doesn’t perfectly emulate the Windows 7 Explorer. Keep this in mind when you make your own backups.
- You have limited space. By default, Google Drive only provides 15GB of storage. This means that you’ll have to pick and choose what you save when you backup computer Window 7.
Dropbox is an application similar to Google Drive that you can use to backup computer Windows 7. The nice thing about it is that you can automatically upload your files to Dropbox, and increasing your storage space can be done by paying a nominal amount of money.
To use Dropbox, it’s as simple as doing the following:
- Download the Dropbox application and make a Dropbox account.
- Install the application and set up a directory to use to backup your files.
- Your files will automatically be uploaded as you change them in the folder. This means that applications and documents need to be in the folder to take advantage of this.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Dropbox for File Backup
The advantages of using Dropbox for backing up your files are:
- Your files can be automatically backed up. You only need to put them in the right folder and to be running the Dropbox application to do so.
- File storage is natural. You can even download your files from a browser with Dropbox, which means that this can be more advantageous than Google Drive.
There are also a number of disadvantages to consider when using Dropbox. They’re listed below:
- The upper limit for storage is decided by how much you want to pay. This can be both a good and a bad thing, as alternatives like Google Drive has an upper limit that is unchangeable.
- You have to store your files in a certain folder. This can make using Dropbox to save things like documents messy, especially when you have multiple folders and several revisions to save.