COSTCO AT YOUR SERVICE
Costco offers a selection of backup drives in warehouses
and online at Costco.com.
IMPORTANCE OF BACKING UP
You might know that sinking feeling when you realize
important computer files have vanished into thin air. This
could happen in a number of ways: a nasty computer
virus, hardware malfunction, natural disaster (such as fire
or flood) or power surge. And countless laptops are lost
or stolen on a regular basis.
In a flash, your entire digital life could be gone forever –
unless you proactively back up your important files on a
regular basis. It doesn’t really matter how you do so, as
long as you do something and fairly often – perhaps once
a month or so for casual users.
All of your documents should be archived. Digital photos
and video footage cannot be replaced, so frequently
backing up these memories is a good idea. Contact
information for all your friends, family and work associates
should also be backed up and may already be synced
with your smartphone – as well as calendar appointments,
notes and tasks. Your music collection, audiobooks,
website bookmarks and/or anything else that is
irreplaceable – or at least an inconvenience – if lost,
should also be on the list.
WAYS TO BACK UP
EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE
An external hard drive can be plugged into an available
USB port on a laptop or desktop and it will show up
as a new drive. Capacity typically starts at 1 terabyte
(about 1,000 gigabytes), which is enough to hold many
thousands of photos, videos, songs and documents.
Desktop hard drives are meant to be kept in one place,
such as a home office, and require external power (that
is, they need to be plugged into an AC outlet). A small
portable hard drive gets its power from the computer
itself, and can be brought with you.
USB FLASH DRIVE
“Thumb drives” plug into an available USB port on your
computer, so you can manually drag and drop files onto
the drive. While inexpensive, reliable and durable – they
don’t have moving parts like a spinning hard drive – flash
drives don’t store as many files as an external drive.
You could also back up files onto an SD or microSD
memory card instead of a thumb drive.
These online services store your files for you behind a
password-protected website or app. Popular providers
include OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud.
While you don’t get a lot of free storage (average around
10 GB), your local files are stored off-site to protect your
files from local threats. You can access all of your
backed-up stuff from virtually any internet-connected
computer, tablet or smartphone in the world.
– Marc Saltzman, a leading high-tech reporter, contributes
to more than three dozen prominent publications.