BACKUP AND RESTORE PROCESS FOR COMPUTER SYSTEMS

Is Data Backup really that Important?

The influx of data being stored on computer systems is growing for the average user. Every day, you’re creating new data and your need for managing it grows with it. A management strategy needs to be predefined. But, it’s also important to take into account all possible outcomes. What if your data is lost? What if the information was sensitive? Can you recover it?

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Whole Route of Backup Process

To start the backup process, first take into account which operating system you’re using. For most of the users, the OS is either a MAC or Windows. The reason for taking your OS into account is because of the internal backup software that they have. For the Windows OS, the Windows Backup allows all of the information to be backed up. For the MAC OS, a pre-installed software known as Time Machine solves this problem.

After we’re done settling on an OS, the next step is choosing an external storage device. This is where the data will be backed up. The user attaches an external storage device to the computer system. After choosing what files to backup, the process begins. If you wish to make an exact copy of your computer drive, you can. This type of backup is known as a system image backup. It’s available in both the Windows and the MAC. To create a system image means to copy all files and folders, along with the configurations of all drives on your computer. When you recover these files on a new system or the same system, it’s an exact replica.

Make sure that the storage device attached to the computer system has enough space. Users can also opt for a backup software other than the pre-installed ones present on the computer. This is based on your own requirement.

But, it’s not necessary to only opt for this default backup method. In fact, it might present problems for some users. For example, a damage to the external storage device can cause the data to be lost. This is why other backup methods should also be kept in mind. Some of them are even more efficient than this. These backup methods can usually be used on any computer system.

Let’s look at the backup methods present.

Choosing your Backup Strategy

Users need to choose a backup method based on their own requirements. A number of factors can be kept in mind when choosing your method of restoring data. These can be:

  • Cost
  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Accessibility
  • Storage limitations
  • Ease of switching to other backup if necessary
  • Is the method automated or not?

Of course, other factors might also play a role depending upon user requirements. This is why you should first define what you need. Once that’s out of the way, you can view the different backup options present. Each presents its own advantages and disadvantages.

Suppose you want the backup method to be cheap. You can either go for a cloud backup service or an external hard drive. If you only need limited storage capacity, the external hard drive would be cheaper. But, the cloud backup platform would be more reliable. In case of any harm to the external hard drive, your data can be lost. But, the cloud backup service solves this for you. Multiple copies are always present on different servers. This way, the cloud backup service is responsible for your data.

Let’s see the two primary options present to help you backup and restore your files. By presenting the strong and weak points of each, you can better decide what you need.

Method 1: The Cloud

Cloud computing acts as a platform that exists over the internet. On the backend, it’s supported by servers. Users are provided with a virtual space on the internet referred to as the ‘cloud’. Here, you can store your data. This data does not exist over any single computer, but over a virtual space as defined. This virtual space allows you to access the information uploaded from any digital device. This happens without any limitation in the network location.

For backup, you can either opt for a cloud backup or cloud storage service. Both of these use cloud computing to backup your data. But, they’re very different in how they work. The cloud storage service is used to store data. But, it does not specifically cater to your backup needs. The storage capacity is limited here, and users typically upload small file sizes.

But, a cloud backup platform gives you more space. It is specifically designed to help you back up your data. A software is usually provided to the user for this purpose. By installing the software on your computer system, you can keep your data constantly backed up. Unlike a cloud storage service, a cloud backup service will even automatically keep multiple copies of a file as changes are made. You can view the file history from the software. In case of any data loss, the chances of the data being recovered are extremely high. Users are even given unlimited storage capacity unlike in a cloud storage service.

The advantages typically outweigh the risks involved with cloud computing. Unlike a physical storage backup, the cloud is immune to any physical harm. The primary disadvantage could be cost and security. Because of the data being uploaded on the internet, a threat from hackers can present itself. The costs can be higher as well, depending upon the storage space required. Most cloud services usually offer some free storage space.

The backup for a cloud storage service can be done easily. Users just upload the files they want on the cloud, and it becomes available there. For the cloud backup service, the process is usually more automated. The software handles the backup process for you. Users are just required to define the drive or area from where the data will be backed up. But, typically this can take a long time. This is because of the large storage size of the files involved with cloud backup.

Restore Process in Cloud Computing

Your data from a cloud platform can be restored through a download. The information is downloaded from the internet to your computer system. The time this will take is dependent on the storage size of your data. Cloud backup service users would usually have to face a longer period of time. This is because of the typical nature of the large file size. Both platforms (cloud backup and cloud storage) have a feature available to restore your data.

Method 2: External Hard Drives and Clones

External hard drives present the option to backup specific data. This means that users have the option to choose which files they wish to upload. This helps if you are worried about the cost and wish to utilize limited storage space. However, this does not mean that users cannot make an image backup. If the storage size is large enough, you can even upload a system image on the external hard drive.

As for clones, the purpose is specifically to make an image backup. This means that the system will make an exact copy of the computer system. Everything including the specific configurations of the computer system is backed up. You can simply plug the clone back in and boot your computer system to recover the files at the restore point. This is why clones are also referred to as ‘bootable drives’.

External hard drives and clones present similar advantages. The data that is backed up can be kept close at hand. Users can view specific information present on these storage devices at any time. But, a few limitations also exist, such as the limited storage capacity can be a problem. If you run out of storage space, you will need to purchase another clone or external hard drive. Another problem is the risk of any physical damage. Unlike the cloud, these devices can be subject to harm. In case of any damage from the external environment, all of your data can be lost.

The data being backed up on such storage mediums can be done through Windows Backup or Time Machine. As for the Windows OS, the windows backup is available on any version of Windows. The process has in-fact been updated and made better than the previous versions. Users only need to plug in the external hard drive or clone and start the backup process. The time it will need to back up this data depends on the storage size. Clones usually take up a longer time because of the large volume of data involved.

Restore Process in External Hard Drives and Clones

With external hard drives and clones, the restore process is usually defined as per the OS. If you’re using Windows Backup or Time Machine, you’ll simply need to plug in the storage device. An option such as ‘System Restore’ is present on the Windows. A similar option is also present on the MAC. Clones will require time to boot and load the OS when it is plugged in.

For Windows, simply go to the control panel. Once you’re there, search for the backup and recovery option. After plugging in the external hard drive or clone, click restore. Windows will automatically start the restore process. This will also help you backup and restore windows configurations from the original location.

In case you’re using any third-party software, the process will be similar. Most clones usually have their own software for backup and restore. The software will show an option to start the backup process as soon as you plug in the storage device. You can monitor the backup process as it happens. All in all, the process for restore with such devices is usually straight forward.

Automated Process is more Reliable

Whatever storage medium you choose, make sure that it’s automated. This helps minimize the risk of data loss. Once you integrate your computer system with the right storage medium, it should automatically back up your data. Take any cloud backup service as an example. The software constantly uploads the data to the cloud. In case of any damage to the system, the chances that all of your data is backed up is highly probable.

This is why automated backups are important. Constantly having to monitor your backup data can be a problem. Manually uploading it presents the risk of data loss. If the backup medium handles this for you, you’ll never have to worry about data loss again.

Keeping your Data Safe

To conclude, the backup and restore process nowadays is extremely convenient. Users are presented with a wide array of options to keep their data backed up and restore whenever they desire. The final method chosen should be based on your own personal requirements.

As a rule of thumb, users can choose multiple methods to back up their data. A safe and reliable strategy would involve backing up to both the cloud and the external drive. Uploading to the cloud is usually referred to as ‘off-site management’. Meanwhile, uploading to a local backup such as a physical device is usually ‘on-site management’. Having multiple copies reduces the risk of any data loss.

Users are constantly relying on digital devices every day. This means most of your valuable information is either stored online or on your computer. Any loss of data can present serious concerns at any point in time. In case you’re running a business, your need for backup is inevitable. Important information can be lost in case you’re not careful. This can result in an actual financial loss.

Backup and restore processes have become extremely convenient and short. This is why users are left with little to no cause to avoid backups in this era of technological advancement.