This blog post was featured in Carnival of the Indies, issue 20.
A friend’s laptop recently died, and with it a whole load of important documents. It was under warranty, but warranties don’t cover data. Backups are important, but people tend to think they’re difficult. So here’s an easy and free way to backup your most important stuff.
Sign up to Dropbox using this link: http://db.tt/EsJcGBG (using that link will mean that we both get extra free space on Dropbox)
You get 2GB of space for free, or you can pay to get more. 2GB isn’t enough to save everything, but it should be enough to save the really important stuff. There are various ways to get extra free space, or you can pay for more space.
Once you’re signed up, install Dropbox on your computer. It will create a folder called “My Dropbox”. Anything you put in that folder will get copied to Dropbox’s servers, and if you install Dropbox on another computer, the contents of that folder will get synchronised between the computers. Your files will also be available via the Dropbox website, and if you have an Android or iThing, you can also install Dropbox on there to give you access to your files on your phone/tablet.
Put all your important stuff in your Dropbox folder, and it’ll get backed up. If you accidentally delete a file, or save over it, you can restore to an older version for up to 30 days.
Dropbox also has some other features that some people might find handy – you can share folders privately with selected people, you can make particular files public, easily create online image galleries, etc. In its simplest form, though, it provides simple and automatic backups.