There are several ways you can go about backing up your data. You could use a stand alone application to create an "image" of
the system drive and copy it to another Hard Drive, or you may just drag and drop files and folders onto another volume attached to your computer.
Current versions of Windows and Mac Operating Systems even ship with built in utilities that are more than suitable for anything but Enteraprise requirements.
What technique will be best suited for any one person depends on to many variables to list; however I will say the "drag n drop" technique is better suited for those working with multiple computers and even different Operating Systems, whereas a full system back up is ideal for people working with only on or two
computers in there home and no need to move large amounts of data around.

You have many choices when it comes to back up hardware. You could drag n drop data on to a floppy disk or more likely a flash card/drive,
and carry your data right in your pocket. You could also write or "burn" files to a CD or DVD, though this makes it difficult and expensive to
update or modify your backup. Unless you pay extra for Rewritable media, your going to end up with a stack of coasters.

Another option is to purchase a secondary Hard Drive, usually "External" and powered by the USB connection, or a power block. If your backing up more than 4-5 GB, or planning to do a full system back up this is the best option. A dedicated back up drive will get little wear and tear if it just sits on your desk, and is only running when back ups are preformed.

Hard Drives have their downsides too, they have moving parts, they're bulky, and the most expensive option (The actual price per GB, compared to flash media, is much cheaper however.)

Again, what option is best for you depends on your needs. You'll likely find yourself using more than one.

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