Get in the bin!

It's not the most exciting subject but having good backups can save you a significant amount of stress longer term. There's a simple way you can test how good your data backups are. Could you take X device (e.g. phone or laptop) right now and (figuratively speaking) throw it away with no consequences for your data? If the answer is yes, well done, you’ve got a good backup regime (you've tested it right?). If the answer is no, read on.

The only way to prepare for the unexpected is to have a good backup strategy in place.

Source Backblaze


I’ll tackle phones first. With both Android and Apple iOS you can create full phone backups on a regular basis to restore from. The majority of your data is likely already stored in the cloud (via your Google account or iCloud account) and can be easily restored to a new device. Normally the conversation revolves around concern over photos, especially when moving to a new phone or one that’s been damaged.

All the photos of the (grand)children are on here. Please can you get them back!

Recovery can sometimes work but it’s much easier to avoid needing to go down that road.

Desktop / notebook

The same applies to laptop and desktop PCs. If you don’t have a backup that’s physically separate from your computer then use a house fire for your planning scenario. If you lost the device could you recover all your documents? I must say I’m a real fan of Chromebooks for this reason. If you lost everything in that scenario then you literally go out and buy a new one and log in. Voila, everything is right where you left it. If you’re an Apple user, there’s Time Machine and external disks, but what if these are stored with the machine. For Microsoft users there’s Windows Backup - they have a backup and restore walkthrough here.

To ensure you have backups stored separately from your devices a cloud based backup service is great. I would suggest looking at Backblaze which works for both macOS and Windows. For around $7 a month it’s a small price to pay for unlimited data backup. Take a look here.

* Yes - I'm old enough to both remember, and have used, Dr Norton Disk Doctor for DOS.

Other articles in this series:

Last updated: 2021-10-13

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