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How to Backup Your Files Online for Free
A few years ago if you wanted to backup any important files or pictures you would either buy an expensive external hard drive or get a stack of CD’s and painstakingly load a handful of files onto each disc. It is a whole different ballgame now.
Today, there are a variety of companies that offer online backup of your computer and important files and documents for a monthly fee. Companies like Mozy, Carbonite and many others make it possible to backup your files online in the cloud and access them from other computers and devices. These websites are great for many people, but I have a problem with them; they cost money.
So in this hub I want to share with you how to backup your important files, documents and pictures online, for free.
What is Online or Cloud Storage?
For those who might not know, online or cloud storage means the files or data are stored on multiple virtual servers which can be accessed through the internet. What this means is that you can save a copy of your important files online, and if your computer crashes, access the files from any other device.
Why backup important documents online?
You might be asking, ‘Why do I need to backup my documents online?’
Well, the answer is similar to why you need to wear a seatbelt (except there is no law requiring you to backup your computer online): it is all a precaution in case something bad happens. In the same way that you never plan on getting into an accident, most people don’t plan on their computer crashing, getting stolen, or just blowing up.
Again, you might say, ‘Hey, I’ve got an extra stack of CD’s handy, why not just use those?’ Two reasons: First, if you lose that stack of CD’s (or external hard drive or other devices), then you’re out of luck. Second, that’s so old! Stop living in the past.
How to Backup your Computer Online for Free
To begin backing up your files online, choose a company you want to use. I would suggest Google Drive, Windows SkyDrive, DropBox or SugarSync (See linksà).
Google Drive and Windows SkyDrive
Google Drive and Windows SkyDrive would be my first two suggestions. Each offers 5Gb or more of free storage space and each are easy to setup and use.
If you have an email account with Gmail or Outlook then it is very simple to setup your online storage. If you don’t have an account, I strongly recommend signing up for one or both, because you can never have too many email addresses or gigabytes of free online storage.
For Google Drive: Once you are logged in to your Gmail account, go to the Google Docs section and there will be an option to set up your Google drive. Follow the steps, download the drive to your desktop, and then you are ready to start moving files into it.
For Windows SkyDrive: Now that you are logged in for your Outlook (or Hotmail!) account, click the down arrow next to the Outlook logo and select SkyDrive from the drop down menu. Set up is very similar to Google Drive, just download the SkyDrive folder to your desktop and you are ready to start backing up files.
If you choose to use DropBox or SugarSync, all you need to do is create an account, and then you can download their folders to your desktop.
Of course, you can also upload any files, documents or pictures online on each website which allows you to work on one computer, upload your file, and then access it online from another computer.
There are many other online storage companies besides the ones I mentioned here. Amazon, for example, offers cloud storage for your files as well as any music you purchase from them. The key is to avoid paying for backing up your files, because there are plenty of free websites available.
Is Online Storage Secure?
I look at it this way, if I trust Google and Windows with all my personal Emails, then it shouldn't be a problem trusting them with backup documents and pictures. But it is up to you to decide.
What to Backup from Your Computer
Anything you would miss if you lost it should be backed up online. This could be pictures, important documents, ideas for articles, records, or anything else. The possibilities are endless, but it is important to do it today, because you just don’t know when your computer might fail. What you might have trouble with are trying to store lots of music or downloaded movies. These tend to take up a lot of space, so you will use up your free online storage space quickly.
Options and Features
Looking for an Alternative?
Other Uses for Cloud Storage
There are several other uses for online storage besides backing up your files. One popular use is to sync files between multiple computers or devices. If you do a lot of work on multiple computers, it might get tiring trying to email it to yourself, or put it on a thumbdrive. Cloud storage allows you to save files online, and then access them from your phone or other computers.
Another great use for online storage is for sharing large files or pictures with friends and family. This allows others to view, edit or add to the files or pictures quickly and easily. This is also useful for group collaborations or school projects.