Students – Don’t forget to back up!

June 8, 2017 12:34 pm Lisa Kelly

Perhaps one of the worst things a student could experience –Losing their work so close to a deadline with no way of getting it back. After years of GCSE’s, A-levels and university to finally get to the point when you’re ready to submit your final pieces of work and in the blink of an eye it could all be gone.  

Those who’ve experienced this will know that feeling of sheer panic. It’s an awful thought and an even worse reality when your computer crashes and you haven’t backed up your work, losing thousands of words and hard work right before a deadline. 

There are many ways your computer can let you down- your hard drive could fail, a software bug could delete files, or worst of all – Ransomware. With the rise of the internet, came an increase in cybercrime and along with it, ‘ransomware.’ This is when your computer is held hostage by a cybercriminal until you pay a fee, and even if you do pay, the return of your documents isn’t guaranteed.   

There’s one simple solution to both these problems and it’s to BACKUP! If you are the unfortunate victim of a ransomware attack and your computer files are held hostage, then at the very least you know anything important, valuable or even sentimental is saved elsewhere in a safe, secure location. 

What should you back up first? You should back up your personal files before you do anything else. 

This could be anything from photos, videos, to your own personal work. 

You can always reinstall programs if your hard drive fails, but your own personal files are irreplaceable. These are the key things that you should be thinking about backing up…before it’s too late!  

The Cloud

Being able to save your work and photos onto an online virtual space is pretty awesome. It can’t be broken or stolen, it doesn’t weigh anything and your work is only a click away. You can even work online, meaning your work will save as you go. This is one of the safest and most convenient ways to keep your important files safe.  

There are plenty of options to choose from such as DropboxGoogle Drive, and Microsoft One Drive. However, you should compare the free space each offer and pricing thereafter before choosing.  

Pen drive / USB memory stick

The trusty pen drive or external hard drive has always been a reliable way to keep your work safe. They’re small, reasonably cheap, easy to use and there’s plenty to choose from. However due to their small size, they can be easily lost and can sometimes break too. If you like working from a pen drive, you should also save your important work online, in case it were to fail.  

Your desktop

Avoid saving files on your desktop if you can, especially if it’s the only copy you have. It’s ok for convenience, but remember- your computer can fail or a ransomware attack can happen at any time, so ALWAYS have a backup to avoid losing any essays, dissertations or university projects. 

Top tips 

This might seem obvious, but something people fail to do – Back up regularly, every few minutes if you’re currently working on something to avoid losing  it. Personal documents, photos, home videos, and any other documents on your computer that can’t be replaced should also be backed up regularly. 

Use more than one method of backup so your files are in multiple locations.  It’s always good to have a plan B, just in case plan A fails. 

There’s no excuses when it comes to backing up your university work- with technology these days, you can do pretty much anything, quickly and conveniently. Your future self will thank you.