May 31st 2018
Are you backing up your data?
If you are like most people, you may not think much about backing up your computer. Refurbished Mac laptops and desktops from GainSaver are very reliable. But the reality is that any computer, at any time, can crash and cause you to lose your data.
Backing up is for everybody!
Data backup is not just for companies. Of course, large and small businesses need to make sure their valuable information is backed up at all times. They cannot afford to lose customer transactions, sales records and other critical business data. So if you are using your GainSaver refurbished Mac for your small business, make sure to follow our advice and back up your hard drive.
Data doesn't seem very important when you just call it data. But the personal data on your refurbished Mac laptop or desktop probably consists of photographs, music, videos, movies, homework, business files, contacts, email and more that are very important to you. You don't want to lose them when it's so easy to back them up and protect them.
New and refurbished Macs require backups
We encourage all of our customers to keep their refurbished Mac laptops and desktop backed up at all times. But it's not just refurbished Macs that need to be backed up. Every computer does.
The only exception where you might not need to back up your files would be on computers you use only for browsing the web or playing online games. This may be you. But if you think about it, after a few years of use, your refurbished Mac is going to have many important files on it, like personal photos and videos. So be safe and back it up!
Hard drives VS SSD drives
While it's true that regular hard drives are more likely to crash than SSD drives, both types can fail. Having your hard drive data recovered in the case of a disk crash can cost thousands of dollars, and may or may not be successful in recovering your files.
SSD drives are becoming more commonplace, because they are so much faster than regular hard drives. They are also more reliable than regular hard drives. However, they can and do fail. The problem with SSD drives is that when they fail, it is frequently a total catastrophic failure where no data can be restored.
Convinced? Then let's look at the options. GainSaver recommends that you use one or more of the following backup solutions to keep the data on your refurbished Mac safe from disaster. Depending on your situation, you can choose from one of these three different types of backup solutions – individual file backup, local hard drive backup and online backup.
Individual file backup
It's good to know that you can back up your most important files for free with any of these services.
When you set up iCloud, Google Drive or Dropbox, a special folder is created on your refurbished Mac. All you need to do is drag the files you want to back up into the designated folder and they are backed up to the cloud. Just remember when using these services that only the files you place in designated folders are backed up online for you.
Advantages of file backup
These are free and very reliable services for backing up individual files. These services are super easy to use and don' require any additional hardware. All you need to do is connect to the internet and your files will be backed up.
Most services of this type also let you to share and sync files with other people. File syncing allows two or more people to access a data file, modify it and then have it updated automatically for all the people with access to that file. If you have friends, fellow students or coworkers who you want to collaborate with on a project, then you have another reason besides just file backup to get started.
Disadvantages of file backup
With these file backup solutions, only the files that you place in designated folders are backed up to the internet. If you want to back up all the files your refurbished Mac, then this is not the best option for you.
If you have large numbers of files, you may need to sign up for a pay version to save them all. Depending on the service, you can get 2GB, 5GB or maybe more in file storage space at no charge. Rates differ for additional storage space.
You should try out the free versions of these services and see which one you like the most. We recommend you start with iCloud, which is the most fully integrated service for Apple users with refurbished Macs, iPads and iPhones. You'll be able to share files in iCloud across all your devices.
Local hard drive backup
If you really want a complete backup of all the files on your refurbished Mac, you can backup your files to an external hard drive. Time Machine is a free backup application that is built into the Mac operating system. Once you set it up, your files are automatically backed up to your external hard drive.
Advantages of local backup
External drives are not too expensive nowadays. You can get a high capacity hard drive and enclosure for relatively little money. You can connect your hard drive directly to your refurbished used Mac with a USB cable. If you have an Airport Extreme base station, you can connect the hard drive to the base station and then have it available to all your computers.
Local backup is a lot faster than online services. Backup and restore speeds are not limited to your internet connection speed. This means a restore operation of all your files can be completed in a few hours, rather than a few days with an online service.
An additional advantage to Time Machine is that it gives you access to previous versions of your files. If you are working on a report and want to go back to a version from yesterday, you can do that with Time Machine.
Disadvantages of local backup
You have to purchase additional hardware in the form of an external hard drive. Although this could cost anywhere from $100 to perhaps $250, it's a one-time expense. The good part is that you won't have to pay any monthly or annual fees the way you do with online backup services.
You need to have a little tiny bit of computer knowledge, enough to choose a hard drive and connect it to your refurbished Mac, or to your Airport Extreme base station. Beyond that, you should be able to set it up quickly and with a minimum of effort.
The biggest disadvantage is that a local backup is local. If anything happens to your home or office, like a flood or a fire that ruins all your equipment, your backup will also be lost. So if you have files for work or school that you absolutely cannot afford to lose, then you should go with an online backup solution.
Online hard drive backup
An easy and relatively inexpensive way to backup you entire drive is with an online backup service such as these.
When you sign up with an online backup service, all the data files on your drive are copied to the remote servers of the backup service.
Advantages of online backup
The biggest advantage of these services is that they are very easy to use. When you create a new file on your computer, it gets backed up in the background. You don't need to do anything. And you don't need to put your files in any special folders. All your data files, in any folders on your hard drive, are automatically backed up.
There's no need to purchase any additional hardware, or connect your Mac to anything other than the internet to back up your hard drive's data files.
These backup services are remote, meaning your data is stored elsewhere – not your home or office. That's a good thing. It means that should your home or office be broken into and your refurbished Mac gets stolen, you still have your data.
An online backup service is great when you decide to change computers. Let's say you decide to get a refurbished Macbook Pro with a Retina screen from GainSaver (at a great price!) to replace the Mac you're using now. Before you buy, sign up with an online backup service and back up all your data files on your current Mac. Then, when your GainSaver refurbished Macbook Pro arrives, simply download all your data files from the backup service onto your GainSaver Mac. Simple!
Disadvantages of online backup
There are a few disadvantages to online backup services. The biggest one is that backup and restore operations for an entire hard drive take a really long time. Depending on your internet connection speed and the amount of data you have on your hard drive, it can take two or three days to back up or restore your hard drive.
The backup time is probably not a big deal for you. Just leave your refurbished Mac on for a few days until the backup is completed. Once that part is finished, new files are backed up immediately as soon as they are created or modified. The restore time can be an issue if you ever have a hard drive crash. You will be limited for a few days until the restore is completed.
One limitation with online data backup services is that they don't back up all your files. System files and software application files are not backed up. Only data files are backup up. This means that you will have to reinstall your application programs in the event of a crash. The good news is that your data files will be recovered.
Better safe than sorry!
Backing up your data files is like insurance. You might not ever need it, but if you do, you'll be glad you were prepared. If you are not backing up your files, do it today! Don't wait until it's too late!