File and System Backup

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As we know, our Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and SSDs store our precious data, but hardware can fail anytime. To prevent data loss we need to save our important data and make more than one copy of the same. This is known as keeping a backup of important data. That’s why we need to understand the proper way of keeping file and system backups. File and system backups are different things.

File Backup

File backup is when you only keep a copy of your important files. It is as simple as copying your data to another storage medium.

System Backup is also known as system imaging and it is very time consuming but it comes in handy if your system gets infected by ransomware or a very bad malware. It can help you restore your system to a functional state. But as it is an operating system level backup, in case you decide to change your current operating system you will need to copy your files manually. In this type, you can not restore targeted files, and that’s where the previous category is much more flexible.

The advantage of keeping a backup is that in case a particular file is lost or corrupted, it can be easily retrieved. If a backup of the entire system has been taken, the entire system can be recovered in case of a failure. On the other hand, the disadvantage of keeping backups is that it needs extra storage which may demand monetary investment in the form of a hard disk or cloud storage.

Types of System backup

  • Full: Full system or data is copied to a specified location. It will also copy various system related files which are otherwise not normally accessed by the user.
  • Incremental and Differential: Only the information that has changed since the last backup is copied to the specified location.

3-2-1 rule: Keep at least 3 copies of your data on at least 2 different storage medium and 1 of them should be offsite.

No special software is needed to do a file backup but we need tools for system level backups.

  • For Linux, Timeshift is a very good software to backup and restore a system. For technically sound people, RSYNC is a better option.
  • For Windows users AOMEI Backupper is a good tool available out there. Windows’ built-in system backup fails many of the times. It is a smart move to use third party tools.

For Wikipedia entry on Backup, click here.

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