Do your own IT: Backup and Recover

If you are a part of a small business, self-employed, or work remotely you might not have an IT department to support you if something goes wrong with your computer and going to a third party for computer repair can be time-consuming and expensive. Fortunately, there are a couple things you can do as a user to be better prepared in the event of computer problems.

1. Backups

Having a computer suddenly die or become unusable is a big problem because it’s not just the loss of the machine, you have also lost access to the data you need to complete your work. This issue can be avoided by keeping a backup of your files. You will need an external hard drive for this but they are relatively inexpensive and worth the cost when the alternative is total data loss or an expensive repair. Purchase one that connects to your computer via USB.

Windows has a feature called File History that makes backing up and restoring your files easy. Once your external hard drive is plugged in, search for “File History” and select the app “Restore your files with File History”. When it opens click on “Select Drive” and choose the external drive that you have plugged into your computer.  Then click “Run now.” A copy of your files will be saved to the external hard drive.

Type “file history” in search bar
Select “Run now” to start back up

If your computer goes down and you need to restore your files on a different computer, or if the damage to your computer requires a clean operating system (resulting in total data loss), simply navigate to the File History app and select “Restore Personal Files.”


2. Recovery drive

A recovery drive can be used to reinstall windows in case of a major failure as well as provide access to other recovery tools. It is easy create it within Windows. You just need a 32GB USB drive. Insert your USB drive. Then search on your computer for “create a recovery drive.”

Type “create a recovery drive” in the search bar

Select the “Create a recovery drive app.” Select “Back up system files to recovery drive.” Then click “Next.” Once your system has finished creating the drive click “Finish” then eject it.

Click “Next”
Click “Finish”



So practically, how can you use these tools? Let’s say your computer crashes and can no longer boot to the operating system or maybe you get a bad malware infection and your system is unusable. You can use your recovery drive to reinstall Windows. Then you use File History to recover your recently backed up files onto your computer. You are good to go!