Backing up your computer is STRONGLY recommended and cheap compared to losing your data!  It also isn't particularly difficult in most cases.  Even while writing this IT staff are working on a user's computer that may have a failed hard drive.

Biochemistry IT can assist you with configuring a backup solution that meets your needs but the following are some simple, general guidelines that will cover most users needs.

You will need to make sure you backup often.  Your backups are only useful if they have the files you need.

Mac | Windows


Biochemistry IT recommends using Time Machine, which is built into the Mac OS, to backup your Mac.  This simple solution ensures all your data is backed up and only requires the purchase of an external hard drive.  Time Machine checks for any files changed every hour (as long as you are connected to your backup drive).  It also will keep previous versions of files until the backup drive is full.  This allows you to access previous versions of a file if needed.

In general, we suggest getting an external drive that has twice as much space available as the computer you want to backup.  Large capacity hard drives are often available for around $100.  For those looking for even more convenience and willing to spend a little more money, a number of NAS solutions allow you to backup over your home wireless network.

For documentation on setting up and using Time Machine please visit Apple's Time Machine Support Page.


Windows includes a built in backup solutions.  When using this solution, Biochemistry IT generally suggests backing up to an external hard drive and ensuring you are backing up regularly.