Back up your files regularly

Your computer is the hub of your personal and academic or professional activities. It can help you manage your documents, pictures, music, and other media in one place. Despite the convenience, you can lose all of your data if you don't back it up.

Computer problems are inevitable. The only thing worse than your computer crashing is losing all of your data at the same time. Follow the guidelines below to preserve your data.



Faculty and staff: Check with your IT Professional before following these guidelines. Your department may have its own process to back up your files.

  • Purchase a storage device like a high-capacity flash drive or external hard drive to back up your files.
  • Use an automatic backup program like Time Machine for Mac or the Backup and Restore feature for Windows. These programs will help you automate your backup process, making it less likely that you'll lose important files.
  • If you would prefer to back up your files without an automatic program, develop a system to manage your backups that includes the folders you need and how often you should back them up. In general, you should back up your files at least once a week.
  • Consider backing up your data to two sources.
  • Back up all of your academic- or work-related files AND your personal files: documents, photos, videos, and music.

More information

Mac 101: Time Machine (Apple)

Back up your files—Windows 7 (Microsoft)

Back up your files—Windows Vista (Microsoft)

Windows XP Backup Made Easy (Scribd)