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Notes: February 2020 Meeting – Backups

Here are the notes I made for the presentation on backups that was presented at our February meeting 2020.

Full Version: Google Docs – Feb 2020 General Meeting Notes

Full version without pictures


Backups (computer)

What data do we have on the computer?

  • Documents
    • Taxes
    • Receipts
    • License keys for software
    • Word Documents
    • Scans (default folder usually)
  • Downloads – dont store stuff here usually
  • Pictures – Mostly just family photos and personal items
  • Video – Only if you take videos on phone or computer
  • Music –
    • itunes (can be redownloaded if purchased from apple store)
    • ripped CDs (a backup of your CD)
  • Email and contacts — optional, only for Outlook/Thunderbird
  • Programs — Cannot backup really

When do backups happen?

  • Immediately
  • Daily/Weekly/Monthly
  • Manually

Where does that data live?

The user’s home folder aka c:\Users\Username\

  • c:\Users\Username\Documents
  • c:\Users\Username\Pictures

How do I know how much data I am using?

  1. Check your drive (right click in explorer > properties)
  2. Check your user folder
  3. WinDirStat

Do I need to backup my data?

No! Not always

Local Solutions for backups

Recycle Bin

Aye aye aye. Recycle Bin can store files. It will automatically delete them as more are added or during regular cleaning.

USB Drive

I don’t like this option but it is sometimes used as a cheap backup solution. In general, flash drives have less reliability than an external hard drive, but they can be bought in smaller sizes which makes them cheap.

Basically you are doing manual backup if you are using one of these. Windows 10 Backup will burn it out too fast to be useful. Back up your files, put it in a safe, and cross your fingers you can still read it in 10 years.

USB Hard Drive

If you don’t want to use the cloud, and need something more reliable than a Flash Drive, get a USB hard drive. These are USB based as well, but are larger. Inside is often a spinning magnetic hard drive, but some newer ones are just chips known as a Solid State Drive.

These drives are useful for having automated backups that are local to your computer.

Windows 10 Backup

This tool is built in to Windows 10. It makes a real time backup of your files as best as it can. If you change a file, that change is backed up to your USB hard drive, and the original file is also kept if there is enough space. This allows us to go back in time on a file. This solution is simple, but I have had a lot of troubleshooting on it. Its very easy to use.

Seagate or Western Digital Backup

Comes with hard drives manufactured by Seagate and Western Digital. You can often use these programs with any hard drive. They are much like the Windows 10 backup but they just seem to work better. The software is free with the hard drive at purchase.


RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. Basically it turns multiple hard drives into a single hard drive. We can tell the disks to work together for speed, or for reliability.

Cloud Solutions for Backups

First of all, the cloud is not a clearly defined thing. It just means some program on the internet is ready to take your data and do stuff with it.

The Cloud – The internet?

Public Cloud – Google, Apple, Microsoft Onedrive

Cloud usually means:

  • Servers
  • Redundant setup


  • Cloud backup – sends your files to multiple datacenters across the US to store for later use. If one whole datacenter fails, others also contain your data.
  • Cloud password storage – Store your passwords, they get encrypted and sent to the internet for storage and later retrieval
  • Cloud computing – Your whole computer lives as a program in the cloud. You buy any disposable laptop and connect to your real computer in the cloud.
  • Cloud documents – Like MS Word, but because it lives in the cloud and not on your computer, you can share it with others and everyone can work on the document at the same time.

Cloud is a really generic term. To me it means a program or service that lives on the internet in multiple places.

Google Drive – Backup and Sync (Normal)

By default it does not sync everything on the computer. It syncs a specific folder. Anything you put into this folder will be backed up into the cloud. It prevents data loss and also gives you access to your files from anywhere, and from any device.

Google Drive – Backup and Sync (Advanced)

Google Drive has an option to sync the entirety of the Google drive to a folder on the local computer. When it creates its sync folder, we can relocate our Desktop, Documents and Pictures to this location. Anything in these folders will automatically be synced to Google Drive.

Google Backup and Sync also has the capability to keep two devices in sync. Anything you do on one computer will automatically show up on the other. Create a letter to a friend and its on both. Update your taxes from last year and its on both.

Google Drive – Phone and Web

Anything you put in your Google Drive can be accessed from your phone, or from any computer in the world. You just log into your Google account and open the Google Drive website.


Carbonite is different from the others on this list because it is so simple. You install Carbonite, and every time you change a file, it uploads it to your personal backup in the cloud. Carbonite by default backs up everything you would need on your computer. It can be used in the event of a computer loss, or the loss of a single file. It has the best protection for your data, and tried to prevent accidental deletions and other things.


Carbonite cannot sync. It cannot be used to keep two computers in sync with the same files on the desktop.



So easy

Really great for important data and accidental loss of computers

Alternatives: Backblaze, SugarSync

iCloud for iPhone / iPad / Mac

iCloud is mainly used for Apple products, but it does have limited abilities on PC. iCloud backs up our iphone contact list, notes, website bookmarks, and text messages. If we lose our phone we can bring all of these back from the automatic backup in the cloud.

If you are using Apple products, you should be using iCloud.

iCloud for PC

iCloud can sync to your PC. Any photo you take on your iPhone will sync over to your Windows computer and be visible in your file explorer within moments. We can also sync files using iCloud Drive. Once you enabled iCloud Drive in Windows, you will see a new folder in your file explorer called iCloud Drive. Anything you put in here is backed up to your Apple account and can be recovered at a later date. This is similar to Google Drive.