How often do I need to back up the data on my personal computer?

Backing up your data is one of the most important steps you can perform in practicing safe computing. Unfortunately, this step is often overlooked. If your computer hard drive malfunctions or if your computer gets compromised by a virus or hacker, the potential of losing all your data is highly likely. All your locally stored email, your work or school documents, pictures - anything of importance to you - is gone in an instant.

To avoid this type of disaster, you need to back up your files on your personal device regularly.

There are a lot of ways to back up your data. Typically, this is done by using

a USB thumb drive or a larger external USB hard drive. There are also many

internet-based services that provide backup services for little or no cost.

For small amounts of data, consider OneDriveor similar services.

Computers running macOS have the option to use Time Machine to automatically back up

files. This program still requires the use of an external storage device, but

the backups are integrated into the system and will occur frequently and


Once you determine which way suits you best, begin to make regular backups. A

good practice is to do it once a week. You, though, are the best judge in

determining how often you need to back up your data. If you are updating files

regularly during the week, it would be good to perform a weekly backup. If

there are only occasional changes, then maybe once every two weeks, or once a

month would be more appropriate. The most important thing to keep in mind is

that you need to get in the practice of backing up your data.