Backing up your data in 4 easy and inexpensive ways

One day at Engineering school, I walk up to go for lectures as usual. It was that time of the semester when academic work had piled up. We had projects, tests, assignments and deadline to beat. So to finish up most of my work, I needed a laptop and had borrowed my sister’s laptop for this purpose. Not only did I have my precious academic work on that piece of silicon, my sister had her documents, photos, emails, music and the like on the same device.
That fateful day, when I went for that morning lecture, my laptop was stolen. I panicked. I tried to trace the thief but all in vain. I thought about my project work and my sister’s data. I wished like anybody else would — that the thief could at least slip the laptop hard drive through the door of my hall room .However, that stopped at wishful thinking and had to learn a hard lesson that day.
Fortunately the lesson is simple. Backup, backup, backup!
Backing up is one of those disciplines that we tend to neglect, only to regret when it’s too late. It’s like chores.  Since your data (or laptop data) is already in digital form, it’s less complicated, inexpensive and tedious to backup compared to say studio developed photos, printed documents, hard-copy books.
Here are some options you can use;

Optical discs
Optical disks are inexpensive, and most new computers come equipped with DVD writers (or “DVD burners”) right from the factory. Optical disks should remain readable for many years if protected from scratching, heat, and bright light.

An optical disc

There also lots of software that enable you burn your data to a disc like ashampoo, Nero. In windows 7, you can just simply drag and drop files to the CD/DVD and then click burn. Optical discs are old school, but do the job!
External USB hard drives
These are another great way to backup your stuff. These days storage technology has advanced to such great heights that cost is nolonger a hinderance. You could get yourself a 500GB USB external hard drive at about UG Shs 250,000(about $91).

External Hard Drives

That is enough to backup whatever amount of docs, photos, softwares you could possibly have.
As a tip, please DO NOT use your flash disk at a backup solution.Email account

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Yes, if you want to backup a small file/document(less than 10Mb) and wish to access it anywhere anytime, then you can actually use your email account(Gmail or, yahoo) as your online hard drive.


All, you have to do is simply send yourself an attachment of the document and you can download that document from the sent folder of your email account. It’s a simple trick. Gmail offers upto 7Gb of storage, so you’ve plenty of storage.
Online storage service providers
If you have good internet at home or office and wish to access a backup copy of your files from anywhere, then online storage service providers are your best option. Most of them offer at-least 2GB of free storage after which you will have to pay for more.
If you already have a Google account then, you can upload your docs(word, excell, pdf) to google docs for free and even edit them. For photos you can use picasa.
If you have lots of folders and files of various types, then you can dropbox, microsoft’s skydrive, spideroak, sugarsync or wuala.


I personally use Dropbox which offers up to 2GB free because of it’s simplicity of use. All you have to do is sign up with a service provider of your choice and then download a software that will run on your computer. You will then specify which folders you which to sync or backup to your online account. That’s all.
Oh if your mac user with your idevices, then apple simplified that for you with mobileme. Even still with the upcoming iOS 5 and Lion OS on macs all the backing up and syncing will be done for you automatically.So whether you choose to go old school with Optical discs or go for cloud/online storage providers, make sure that you make it a habit to always backup your files.

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