You need to back up all important files now to a location other than your current computer. Learn how to do this at the bottom of this article under "How to back up?".
Why back up?
For those of us that have had the unfortunate experience of a computer that experienced a critical hard drive failure and were unable to recover any of our precious files, this is an easy question to answer. It becomes like breathing...we never want to feel so helpless again. This single thought drives us to always have a backup that is current and safe.
For some, this is a foreign concept and has never happened to them. Congratulations, I hope it never does, but with all of the malware out there that is waiting for an accidental click on an unsafe link, or the hard drive that is just a bit too old, or that thief that is waiting for the opportunity to grab that laptop, it isn't a matter of IF you will loose your data someday, but rather WHEN.
When to back up?
Wouldn't it be great to know ahead of time when our hard drive was going to fail, or a thief was going to steal, or malware was going to infect? Since we don't know when these things might happen, we should assume that tomorrow will be the day, so you should back up now!
Sometimes we do know when we need to back up. Perhaps you are lucky enough to be told that Technology Services is going to be upgrading your computer with a new one and that you need to back up your files so you can copy them to your new computer (lucky you!). Or perhaps your computer is acting strange and seems like it may not last much longer (a really good time to make sure you have a current backup!).
Basically if you have any files on your computer that you cannot live without, you need to back them up. Now. Not tomorrow, not next week, not when you have more time. Now.
What to back up?
Simply put, files you do not want to lose. Documents you have created, photos you have taken, music you have purchased, and any files that you have collected that you need in the future. If you don't back up on a regular basis, this is a perfect time to go through all of your files and clean things up. If you have a file on your computer that you haven't accessed in years, maybe you don't need it...that is for you to decide. Some files may be years old (like your kids' pictures) and you will NEVER get rid of them. You need to determine what files you need to back up and you will need to know where on your computer they are located. Typically on most computers, users store their files on their desktop and in their documents folder. But sometimes there are separate folders for music and photos too. It really depends on the user and how they organize their files. This is up to you to know the location of all the files you want to back up.
NOTE: Be very careful that you are selecting the actual files and not aliases (Mac) or shortcuts (Windows).
These are just pointers to the file or folder and not the actual file or folder. If you back up just the alias or shortcut, you are not actual backing up anything and you will experience an error if you try to use the alias/shortcut after restoring to a new computer - it won't work and what you thought was there won't be.
Where to back up?
Somewhere OTHER than your computer! One option is to use USB flash drive(s) or USB external drive(s). This option is relatively quick, but does require additional hardware that Technology Services does not provide. Another option is to use a cloud based storage system - like Google Drive. This is what Technology Services recommends. This may be a bit slower than a USB option, but once the files are on Google Drive, you can then access them from any computer that has an Internet connection. There are other options out there but we will be focusing on the Google Drive option.
How to back up?
Still with me? Great. Here we go.
- Locate all the files you want to back up. Find them on your desktop, in your documents folder, music folder, photos folder, etc.
- Open the Google Chrome browser and go to drive.musd.org and sign in to your MUSD Google Drive if prompted. (The screenshots below were done on a Mac, but Windows devices will look very similar).
- We recommend that you create a new folder to store your files. Click the "+New" button on the top left of the window and select "Folder".
- Name the folder - something that makes sense, like "Backup" and the date, then click Create.
- Now open the new folder by double-clicking on it. Now you can create additional folders to organize your files. Here I created Desktop, Documents, Music, and Photos folders.
- Now open the folder you want to copy files to by double-clicking on it. Here I resized the Chrome browser window so I could more easily access the desktop files and folders. Now select the files and folders you want to copy by clicking and dragging a box over the files/folders or by clicking on one file or folder, then press and hold the "command" key on a Mac (or Ctrl key on PC) and click on additional files/folders.
- Once you have them selected, click and hold on one and drag them to the Google Drive window and drop. The files will now be uploaded to Google Drive in the folder you have open.
- You will see a small window pop up on the bottom showing the status of the upload. When you see the green checkmark icon next to each, upload is complete.
- For other files and folders, open the folder on the computer and then do the same thing, selecting files/folders and then clicking and dragging to the correct folder in Google Drive.
- Continue until you have uploaded copies of all your important files and folders.
Once done, your files/folders are now uploaded to Google Drive and can be accessed on other computers connected to the Internet. You can also download the files to a different computer as needed by opening up Google Drive and then right click (press and hold the "control" key and click on the item for Mac) and select "Download".
If you have any questions or issues, please reach out to Technology Services by submitting a helpdesk request.