Online security

Step 6 for simple online security: Backups are security too

This is just one step in a series created to help anyone improve their online safety, regardless of their technical knowledge. For more information, check out our full series on simple online security.

Backing up your computer might not seem like it belongs on a security task list, but it is an important step. With a good backup, you have the ability to restore your operating system if your computer is infected with malware. Moreover, it is a good practice because it will save you from losing all your important files if something happens to your drive or PC.

Backup software is free and included in your operating system, but you need to purchase an external storage drive to store backups. Depending on the storage size of your computer, the price of a good backup disk can range from around $60 to $120. Once you set it up and start the backup software, you (hopefully) won’t have to think about it for a long time.

Whichever drive you use, you can follow our instructions to back up your Windows computer or Mac computer. The setup process only takes a few minutes, but the backup itself can take longer. You can also consider cloud backups, which store your files online. These services might be right for you, although they do require an annual subscription.

Learn more about computer backups.

This article was edited by Arthur Gies and Mark Smirniotis.