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The City of Portland, Oregon

Community & Civic Life

Promote the common good

Main: 503-823-4519

City/County Info: 503-823-4000

TDD: 503-823-6868

1221 SW 4th Ave, Suite 110, Portland, OR 97204

The Back Up Plan: Backing Up Your Data

Having a backup of your irreplaceable data is crucially important. Without a backup, you could lose photos, music, documents and anything else that you depend on in your digital life if your computer, tablet or phone is lost or damaged or becomes infected by malware.

You should back up your devices as often as you can. Once a day is a good interval.

Fortunately, automated backup is now easy and cheap. In some cases, it's free.

For a local backup, if you use a Mac, an automated backup service called Time Machine comes with your computer for free. Just plug an external hard drive into your Mac, and you will be asked if you want to use it for Time Machine. Say yes, and voila: you've got regular, automatic backup running as long as that external hard drive is plugged into your Mac. If you need to unplug it, Time Machine will resume backing up when you plug it back in.

There are many different cloud backup offerings. iOS devices automatically back up to iCloud when they are plugged in and on a Wi-Fi network. You may need to purchase more space to back up all of your data-iCloud gives you 5GB of free storage space.

Services like Dropbox and OneDrive can be good places to back up your data as well. There are dedicated, automated cloud backup solutions, like Backblaze and CrashPlan, that will back up your entire computer for a fee. Many of these services will let you recover individual files, including previous versions of a file and deleted files.

For more ideas about backup strategies, these experts have some deep thoughts to share: