Sorting out the revolution in PC backups: Part 1

Fred Langa

Over the past few years, backup technology has improved so much that you’re virtually guaranteed you’ll never lose important files or other data.

But with so many good options available, it can be difficult to settle on the backup method — or methods — exactly right for you.

Today’s mainstream backup options range from Windows’ built-in tools and an internal hard drive to automated applications that archive files to the cloud. In between are old-school backups on optical discs and new-school network-attached drives that let you access your data from anywhere — locally and over the Web.

Each backup option brings its own particular mix of strengths and weaknesses. In this two-part series, I’ll sort out the differences — in both use and speed.

In Part 1, I give an overview of the five leading types of backup technology available today for Windows users. These capsule summaries should help you quickly sort through the benefits and limitations of each option.

In an upcoming issue, Part 2 will provide additional details — plus a Windows Secrets exclusive: real-world timing tests that show how long it takes to back up file sets of various sizes using each of the five backup types.

Combined, Parts 1 and 2 will help you decide the type of backup technology that best fits your needs.

Five ways to archive Windows and your data

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2014-02-13:

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.