Renting a computer is a great way to keep working and surfing online while your laptop or desktop is being repaired. However, the day will come when it is time to return the computer. Before you turn in your rental, it is important to copy your data files and applications, and then wipe your data off the hard drive.
Why back up your computer rental?
The main reason for backing up your computer rental is to insure that your important data is stored in a secure place that you can access in the future. Since everything you’ve added to the hard drive must be cleaned off the before returning the rented computer, that means copying everything to some type of storage device or application. Fortunately, you have several options concerning where and in what form to store your data.
Option 1 – CDs and DVDs
Your first option is to make use of common backup methods like CDRs or DVD-Rs. These work very effectively and are inexpensive methods of backing up your information. However, you may need several disks if you’ve stored a lot of files and applications on the computer’s hard drive. Plus, it does take some time to select individual files and initiate the download.
Option 2 – Magnetic Tape
Another option is to use magnetic tape to perform a backup. Since this option involves creating a sequential copy of everything on the hard drive, it is basically a matter of setting up the process, initiating the backup, and then allowing the equipment to systematically copy everything. However, renting the equipment to make a tape backup can be expensive. In addition, you will need to rent equipment to copy the files onto another hard drive at a later date.
Option 3 – External Hard Drive (recommended)
Going with an external hard drive is also a great way to back up the data residing on your rental computer. All that is required is to connect the external drive to the computer and begin the backup procedure. Once the backup is complete, disconnect the external drive and put it in a safe place. The data will be there when you are ready to load it onto another system.
Option 4 – Secure Online Server
You can choose to forego the use of disks, drives, or tape altogether, and simply upload everything onto a secure online server. By using an online data storage service, you can establish a connection between the computer and the secure site, and then initiate the upload. If you have a relatively small amount of data to upload, one of the free sites may be sufficient. For larger amounts of data, one of the fee-based data storage sites would be a better option. Either way, you can use your access credentials to connect with your data at a later date from any other computer with an Internet connection, and download all or part of the data when and as you choose.
How often should I perform a backup?
Regardless of the data storage option you select, it is important to perform a backup every few days during the rental period. Waiting until the last minute to back up your data is asking for trouble. When you choose to perform periodic backups, you minimize the chances of overlooking an important file or application in the headlong rush to wipe the hard drive of the rented machine before you return it to the dealer. Even if you do overlook something, chances are you will only lose the work of the last day or so, which is much easier to replace than two or three weeks worth of data.