Help Desk

Computing & Information Services

Back Up Your Work

World Backup Day

Having a backup of your work is the most important thing you can do to protect your data.  We provide recommendations for personal computers and Reed-owned computers below.

Why should I back up?

Data loss happens. Spilled coffee, dropped computers, theft, hard drive crashes, accidental deletion, computer virus. It happens all the time, and it could happen to you. Your only hope of protection is a good backup!

How should I back up?

To keep it simple, there are essentially two options--cloud backup and local backup. Choose one of these methods and you'll be in pretty good shape. Even better, do both!

Recommendation for Students and Personal Computers

Cloud Backup (Preferred over a local backup since it's stored offsite)

Crashplan is a cloud backup solution that offers plans as low as $6/month for unlimited backups of one computer to their data center. They support Mac, Windows and Linux, and offer additional plans if you need to backup multiple computers. The default settings will back up files in your home folder though you can change it to back up more, including the entire computer or other user accounts on the machine. Crashplan keeps a version history of your backed up files and will send you an email if your computer hasn't backed up in a while.

The good: unlimited offsite backups for as low as $6/month, set it and forget it
The bad: restoring files from the cloud will be a little slower than from a local backup

Local Backup

Spend a little money upfront to buy an external hard drive and then backup your computer using software. Time Machine, built into Mac OS, automatically backs up your entire computer, and keeps versions of files until it runs out of space on the external drive. It will then remove the oldest backup to make room for the new. On Windows and Linux, we recommend installing the Crashplan software and configure it to back up to your external drive which is free (they only charge if you back up to their data center).

The good: restoring files from a local backup will be faster than restoring from the cloud
The bad: since your backup needs to be plugged into your computer, it's often susceptible to the same points of failure, such as theft, loss, drive failure, or fire

If nothing else...

Keep your important files such as your thesis work stored in Google Drive. Reed accounts have unlimited storage with Google. Keep in mind that when you graduate or leave, you will need to move your files to a personal Gmail account.

Recommendation for Reed-owned computers

CUS recommends the Enterprise version of Crashplan as an automatic backup system for faculty and staff primary machines. Learn more about Reed's CrashPlan here!

For users who require additional backups, CUS can provide backup software recommendations and an external hard drive.

If you have questions about backing up your data, contact Computer User Services.

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