One of the first lessons we learn is to keep backups – you cannot depend on your computer to keep everything safe, and if it breaks then everything is lost. So what is the best kind of storage?
Here we will show you some of the many options you have to store your important data, documents and files.
The choice with the biggest storage capacity and biggest option. You have the option of portable and desktop versions depending on whether or not you want to take your work with you. For people with lots of large media files, such add photos and videos, external hard drives provide storage up to 2TB (2,000GB) on your own desktop.
The most portable of the hardware devices, these come in any size from 2GB to 32GB and a variety of styles. As well as the basic stick there are bracelets, key rings, any multitude of forms to ensure you keep your most important files close at all times. They also work between operating systems, so you can easily work on your Mac at home and take your files into work to carry on with it on your PC.
As well as devices to keep yourself there are a variety of cloud services that keep your documents safe and backed up online. Of the countless systems online, here we cover three of the biggest and most popular.
As well as online storage, Dropbox can also be downloaded as an app for your smart phone and tablet and onto your computer. Shown as a separate folder on your desktop, dropbox allows you to save a file on your computer at home and open it from the website at your work computer. The major downside to this service is the lack of an editing feature – files must be downloaded and worked with on your desktop before being uploaded a second time. Standard accounts will give you 2GB of storage for free, with the option to upgrade your account to 100GB for a monthly or yearly charge.
Easily synched with your existing Gmail account, Google Drive gives 5GB of free storage for your files with the added bonus of being able to edit and create documents and spreadsheets directly into your Google Drive storage. Again it comes with a free app for your portable devices, as well as being able to share documents with friends and colleagues so that they can edit them as well. If 5GB isn’t enough for you, there is the option to upgrade to 25Gb or 100GB for a monthly charge.
If you’re working from a Mac this is the natural and automatic (for most programs) choice. With the ability to save Pages, Numbers and Keynote documents, this service works seamlessly with your Apple account to allow you access all of your files on all of your Mac devices. You can also access and edit your files online, or download them in a Windows friendly version to work with on your office computer. Comes with 5GB free storage and can be upgraded to 25GB or 55GB for a charge.
Whichever option you choose, make sure it is a backup. Always keep more than one copy of any important document, and don’t forget to save regularly when you’re working.
Natasha McGregor is a writer who has wrestled with the storage conundrum many times. She recommends Hardware.