You would automatically think you should backup everything, but should you? Just as you should think and plan what it is you want to backup, you also need to give thought to what you don’t need to backup. Backing up what you don’t need wastes time and backup disk space on your backup server and won’t help you recover from a disaster. So what don’t you need?
Here’s the comment we often hear:
“I have a 500Gb hard disk on my laptop, I need more than 25Gb of backup space”.
Do you need more than 25Gb of disk space?
Consider this, the average size of a word document is probably .5Mb or less, often less. That would translate to about 200 documents per Gigabyte, 25Gb would hold 5000 documents! Pictures might be 1-3Mb each, an iTunes song would be about the same.
25Gb of backup disk space can backup hundreds or thousands of documents, spreadsheets, plus pictures, plus songs.
Here’s how to find out how much disk space you are using.
In Windows, right-click on your My Document folder, select Properties, and see what the total size is.
That should give you a starting point of the backup space you need.
What Not to Backup
Outside of your Documents folder there are many more folders on your C: drive.
For example there’s your Windows folder that holds your Windows Operating System, and your Programs folder that holds all the programs you have installed.
You don’t need to backup these folders and here’s why.
If your computer dies or is lost or stolen, you will not be able to restore the Operating System to a new computer. It just doesn’t work that way. The Operating System is tied to the hardware.
The same goes for your programs, you will need to reinstall them on the new computer, you can’t just restore them.
Note: there are programs that will do a “full metal backup”, as in all your files, but in our experience this doesn’t happen much anymore. It’s easier to just buy new hardware and restore your critical files.
What To Backup
What then should you backup?
The screenshot shown here covers pretty much 90% of everything you need. The CloudPockets cloud backup automatically finds those files and backs them up.
Outside of that you should look for special programs, databases, image manipulation files, or any special software that may save its data outside of these folders. Alternate browsers such as Chrome or Firefox might store favourites elsewhere. Quickbooks puts data in strange places sometimes. Google Drive is often in a different place, the Thunderbird mail client will be different too.
This might require a little digging on your part, or talk to a tech you know. Better to be sure you are backing up what you need than to find out after it’s too late.
The bottom line is to be absolutely sure you are backing up what you need, and to not spend any time or resources backing up items that won’t make any difference in a restoration after a failure or disaster.
Do a little homework, be sure.