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Q: How Often Should I Back Up My Computer?


The answer to this question really depends upon how much data you are willing to lose. Keep the following in mind:

  • Most backup systems offer "Full" and "Incremental" backups. Performing a Full backup takes a lot of time, but if you have to completely reinstall your system, this provides the shortest path. Incremental backups are fast, but if you rely on them and need to recover the entire system, you will need to recover using the last Full backup and all the intervening Incremental backups.
  • Running an occasional Full backup and frequent Incremental backups provides the best balance of protection and speed.
  • You may not know immediately whether your files have been broken into. Keeping a couple of months of backups will allow you to recover data that may have been damaged weeks ago.

IS&T offers Crashplan (Formerly Code42) as a backup service. Learn more here.

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IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

January 23, 2023

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