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8 ways to save your data from getting corrupted




Data loss - whether from hardware failure, digital corruption, or even accidental deletion - is a hard, yet inevitable truth in this age of computers. But you can take simple precautions to protect important documents and e-mails, photographs, music files and videos. Your Windows OS comes with tools that will help you take a backup; your external hard drive comes with backup software. Yet, despite best intentions we fail to create copies of our files. It's probably because the process might seem daunting. Well, its not...

Local storage
The quickest place to save a backup of your data is on the hard disk in your PC. Here, however, you will first need to ensure that your copies are stored on a separate physical drive in your machine. A note of caution: different partitions do not mean different drives. In the event of a hard drive failure, you will lose all your data if your files were stored on the same disk, even though it might show as a different drive letter on your system.

Now, given current drive capacities, most PCs come with just a single hard drive. In this case, it would be best to invest in an external hard disk. As mentioned earlier, each brand comes with its own backup utility. Follow the simple steps to back up your files at regular intervals. Tip: Till you get into an 'automatic' habit, create a reminder on your phone that will prompt you to backup every weekend.

Personal cloud storage
While a local backup is a good idea, an online repository for your documents, music and pictures will give you the freedom to access them from any web-enabled device. Besides, many cloud services come with mobile apps, allowing you to access, synchronize and share files on the go.

Dropbox (www.dropbox.com)
This service gives you 2GB of free storage. If you suggest it to friends, you can earn up to 18GB of space. Dropbox also has software for Windows, Mac and Linux PCs, and apps for Android, BlackBerry, and iOS devices. To back up a file, place it in the local Dropbox folder on your PC and it will be pushed online, showing up on your smartphone as well.

Google Drive (drive.google.com)
Google Drive offers up to 15GB of free space which is shared across Gmail and Google+ services. While Drive is not ideal for multimedia file storage, it is perfect for documents, with support for over thirty formats that can be opened within the mobile app - available for Android and iOS - or the web browser.

Box (www.box.com)
With 10GB of storage space, you will have more than enough room for backing up personal and work-related documents. If you are not into taking your photographs public on Flickr and Picasa, you can store them on Box. Entire folders can be shared with friends and family, turning the backup process into an advantage. Just make sure you don't give write access to those with whom you share the folder. Besides mobile apps for Android and iOS devices, Box also works on Windows Phone.

SkyDrive (skydrive.live.com)
With SkyDrive, you get 7GB of free space and the ability to work on documents within a web browser or its app that's available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone. This service works well with photos too: it comes with a slideshow function and supports sharing on social networks.

Mega (mega.co.nz)
Mega tops ours charts with a whopping 50GB of free storage space. It is a pure-bred digital locker with AES-128 encryption for all your data. As of now, the service can be accessed via your PC and through an app for Android. iOS and Windows Phone offerings are in the works.

Backing up with Windows
You can also use the built-in backup and restore utility in Windows. The best part is that you can schedule and automate the entire process with the help of a simple wizard.

In Windows 7
Click Start > Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Backup and Restore. Here, you are presented with two options 1 Make a full backup of the system: In the left pane, click Create new, full backup. 2 Customize the archival: Click Set up backup and then follow the wizard to configure what you want to make a copy of. After that first time, whenever you bring up Back and Restore, just click Back up now. To restore your data, double-click the backup file to start the process. Alternatively, open Backup and Restore > Restore my files. Browse through the backup and choose the files and folders you want to restore; select the destination and click Restore.

In Windows 8.1
Connect an external hard drive to your PC. Then, using your cursor, point to the upper right corner of the screen. In the 'charms' bar that appears, click on the Search option and type File History to access it. Enable the File History option and follow the instructions to select the folders you want to backup. You can restore files from earlier copies with the same utility.
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