Skip to main content

Stop procrastinating and back up your damn files already! We’ve got the guide

I’m Patrick Norton from TekThing and I’m here on Digital Trends today to tell you the right way to back up your data!

Doesn’t matter if we’re talking business data, baby pics, your college thesis, or all the music you bought on iTunes … if your hard drive dies, it’s gone!

No worries, you say, you backed it up on a USB drive? That’s a great start — but what if that thumb drive is in the bag with your laptop, and it gets stolen? Or there’s a house fire that takes out your desktop AND that external drive you had the copies stashed on? Sound paranoid? Just ask anybody that’s been through a hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake, or, well, you get the idea.

Disasters, natural or otherwise, are the reasons IT pros follow the 3-2-1 backup rule: Make three copies, on at least two different media ­– like the drive on your machine and a USB drive — with at least one copy stored offsite.

If you’re backing up files to an external drive, you’re doing more than most folks. The next step is to get a copy stashed somewhere else. You might be capable of keeping a couple of backups, one at say, Grandma’s house or in a safe deposit box, but it’s a lot easier to use a secure online storage service like Dropbox or Box. They’ll automatically sync a folder full of your files “‘in the cloud,” which is a fluffy way of saying in a data center full of servers somewhere you aren’t.

My personal favorite technique is downloading and installing backup software like CrashPlan or Carbonite. I like CrashPlan because you can use it for free to back up to a local drive, another computer that you trust, say, at your parent’s house, or, for a modest fee, CrashPlan Central’s cloud storage. It takes a while for online services to back all your data up; ­your Internet connection can only move so maybe megabytes per minute in the end. But these servcies run automatically in the background, and, unlike me, they never forget to back up your files.

Online file services make it easy to share files too, or access anywhere you can get on the Internet.

So if you have files you can’t afford to lose, do yourself a favor, and get your own 3-2-­1 backup plan rolling!

Patrick Norton
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Patrick cohosts TekThing, a video show packed with viewer questions, product reviews, and how-tos. He also works on This Week…
Best Buy is selling this HP gaming laptop for just $550 today
HP Victus placed outside while displaying an attractive background.

Even though there has been a lot of progress when it comes to gaming laptops, they still tend to cost a lot of money, especially if you're on a tight budget and don't want to spend the thousands of dollars they usually cost. Luckily, HP has a great solution for you in the form of the HP Victus 15, which has a couple of solid low-budget configurations. For example, this configuration from Best Buy will let you net the Victus 15 for just $550, rather than the usual $880 it goes for, saving you a solid $330 in the process.

Why you should buy the HP Victus 15
It's worth noting from the start that this configuration of the HP Victus 15 is not that powerful, as it comes with an older RTX 3050 GPU under the hood. That's an entry-level GPU from the last generation, although that doesn't necessarily make it a bad choice, especially if you're mostly interested in free-to-play games like CS:GO and League of Legends. In fact, the 15.6-inch FHD screen can even hit a 144Hz refresh rate, which implies that it's made for these types of games that are older and well-optimized for budget GPUs so that you can play them a bit more competitively. That said, the screen can only hit 250 nits of peak brightness, so you'll want to keep it away from any sunlight or strong lighting when gaming.

Read more
This HP Omen pre-built gaming PC is $300 off in this Best Buy sale
hp omen 40l review 03

If you're looking for a gaming PC that isn't going to break the bank, there are a couple of solid options that don't include having to build a PC from scratch. For example, the HP Omen lineup of desktops has a lot of budget-friendly options, so if you're just starting out and don't want to spend a ton, you can grab certain configurations of the HP Omen 40L. Even better, there's a great deal from Best Buy right now that discounts the HP Omen 40L down to just $1,180 from the usual $1,480, which is a pretty great discounted price for what you're getting.

Why you should buy the HP Omen 40L
The beating heart of any gaming PC is the GPU, and in this configuration of HP Omen 40L, you get yourself an RTX 4060 Ti, which is a slight upgrade of the RTX 4060, and an excellent 1080p GPU. With it, you should easily be able to hit or surpass 100fps on ultra settings on most modern games, and if you want to go to 2K resolutions, you will have to make some compromises in refresh rate and graphics, but it should still be quite good. More importantly, you could always upgrade the GPU with one of these GPU deals down the line if you feel you need more power, which is one of the biggest benefits of a desktop.

Read more
The best password managers for Mac
Login screen on a MacBook.

Picking out a safe and reliable password manager can be hard. You want the features you need, excellent security, an intuitive interface, simple setup, and an affordable price. To help you choose the right tool for you, we have a list of the best password managers for Mac.

Keep in mind that Apple’s dedicated Password app arrives with MacOS Sequoia in fall 2024.
Bitwarden Password Manager

Read more