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Back up your files and save important data

June 17, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
You have probably heard that you should back up your computer to protect your data. But a new study shows about half of those surveyed don't routinely back up their files. In addition, just over 10 percent of U.S. households have lost important data in the past year because of it. Wensley McKenney routinely backs up his computer data at the office.

"We back up on-site and off-site every single night," said McKenney.

However, McKenney didn't take the same steps at home and he is now paying the price.

"I lost pictures. I lost all kinds of contacts out of Outlook," said McKenney.

Kish Melwani, a computer repair technician, is all too familiar with this scenario.

"People don't learn until it actually happens to them and how serious it is," said Melwani.

Consumer Reports checked out several backup systems.

"A couple of backup drives we tested are easier to use. With just a couple of clicks you can get all of your backup chores done," said Rich Fisco, Consumer Reports.

The Clickfree Automatic Backup Drive is a good example of an easy-to-use backup drive.

"You plug the drive into the computer. The drive gets recognized by the PC," said Fisco.

It doesn't take long before the Clickfree drive searches for files and automatically backs up photos, music, e-mail files, text documents and other key files.

Consumer Reports also evaluated network hard drives, which you need to be a little more tech savvy to operate.

Here are some instructions on how to get started with a network hard drive:

  • Plug the network cable into a router.
  • Install the software to each computer.
  • Follow the instructions on the pop-up screen.

So with today's systems, it has never been easier to back up your computer. And as McKenney knows, it's well worth it.

"You don't know how much you need the data until it's gone," said McKenney.

The Clickfree Portable Backup Drive costs about $90.

Consumer Reports also looked at the 160-gigabyte Rebit drive for $136. Just like the Clickfree, it backs up automatically.

Consumer Reports says whichever backup drive you get, be sure you are getting enough storage space. A good rule of thumb is to get at least as much as your computer hard drive.

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