Sorting out the revolution in PC backups: Part 2

Fred Langa

In Part 1 of this two-part series, I gave an overview of the five major types of backup technologies available today for Windows PCs.

This week, Part 2 shows the enormous speed differences in backup methods; it also includes some real-life scenarios to help you pick the best method for your needs.

Beyond the theories: Backups in real-life

As discussed in Part 1, today’s primary backup options include a second internal drive; optical discs (DVDs/CDs); USB-connected external drives; a standalone, network-attached drive or another PC; and cloud-based data-storage services.

Each of those backup types offers its own mix of cost, security, and ease of use. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, I suggest taking a moment to go through it — it’ll put each backup type into context, and it might help you better understand the terminology and concepts discussed in this article.

For the five backup types listed above, the most important usability factor is speed. Depending on the size of the data set and the method used, a single back-up (or restore) session can take seconds or days. Obviously, speed is a significant component of your backup-method choice. So this Part 2 of the series includes a Windows Secrets exclusive: real-world timing tests that show how long it takes to back up file sets of different sizes — from a modest 10MB to a hefty 300GB.

Part 2 also includes a closer look at backup usability and applicability to help you make a fully informed decision about your backup options.

Factors affecting backup speeds and times

Some of the elements of backup speeds are obvious. For example, backing up to an internal drive is clearly going to be faster than backing up to a cloud service via the Internet. Other backup speed factors, such as the innate speed of your PC and its subsystems, are less obvious.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2014-02-20:

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.