So you want to back up your computer. Should be easy, right? Millions of people do it! Well, before you go any further: Let’s just make sure you know everything there is to know about properly backing up your computer. (Trust us — you’ll thank us later.)

Desktop mix on a office table

You’ve got a few different options if you want to back up your computer: First is to use an external hard drive, second is uploading to the internet and your last option is to back up onto a cloud service. An external hard drive is a cheap and easy back-up, but if the hard drive is ever lost or damaged, poof! There it goes. You can choose to back up to the internet with a service like CrashPlan. Backing up with a service is easy (most of them do the work for you), but not necessarily cost-effective. They will probably charge a monthly service fee. The last option, the cloud, is fast and generally free, but there are many limits on the size of files you can upload to the cloud. It’s also (technically) not really a back-up, and can expose your information to hackers.

If you really want to safely and properly back up your computer, you’re going to need a multi-pronged approach. We recommend choosing an external hard drive, plus one of the other options as a back-up. Choose which files are important and continually back up your computer (once is not enough). You can either set a reminder on your computer to remind you to physically back up your files — perhaps every other month, depending on how many files you have — or choose a service that will automatically do it for you. All you really need to back up are your personal files. Your operating system and any apps you choose to download are easily accessible from the internet, in the event that your computer goes kaput.

No matter how you choose to back up your files, there are really only two important things you need to remember: Back up regularly and back up your back ups. If you do that, you should be prepared if/when your computer ever fails you.

What other tech tricks do you want to learn? Let us know @BritandCo!

(Photo via Jovanmandic / Getty)