End-of-year Maintenance: Image and Back-up Devices

This week, I’ll post my updated suggestions for three holiday activities that will get your computers and technology ready for the blitz of teaching that starts after the New Year. Here’s what you’ll get (the links won’t be active until the post goes live):

  1. 11 Ways to Update Your Online Presence
  2. 16 Ways to Speed Up Your Computer
  3. Backup and Image your computer

For regular readers of Ask a Tech Teacher, these are yearly reminders. For new readers, these are like body armor in the tech battle. They allow you to jubilantly overcome rather than dramatically succumb. Your choice.

Today: Image and Backup Your Computer

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Two critical maintenance tasks that lots of people skip are:

  • image your computer
  • back up your documents

Image your computer

When you image your computer, you take a picture of what your hard drive looks like, including all the programs and extras, and save in a secure backup area. If malware blows up your computer or ransomware locks you out, all you have to do is re-install from the image.

I used to do this with Carbonite but they no longer offer that service so now I use Acronis. It creates an image of my computer on the schedule I set up. It’ll even image drives that are plugged in (like my USB drive).

BTW, if you use a Chromebook, there’s no need for this. You do what’s called ‘Power Wash’ which returns the device to original settings. Since you don’t download to Chromebooks, that works nicely and speeds the device up significantly.

backup via emailBackup Data Files

Every teacher I know has lost critical work because they didn’t back up on a regular basis. There’s no reason for that. Backing up is easy, fairly quick, and usually free.

Here are some options for backing up your computer:

  • use a service that automatically and continuously backs up data files to the cloud so even if you forget to do this, they don’t. 
  • email copies of your most important writing to yourself. For my WIP, I do it every day. If you use Gmail, you can email up to 20 MB (or more through your Google Drive).

For more details on backing up your computer, check out LifeHacker, PC World, and Windows online help.

A reminder from Janet over at Focused on Story:

“…check your external hard drive to make sure it actually has the computer backed up files on it. Unfortunately we backed up to it, but all of the files weren’t getting backed up. We’d had the back-up a long time, so when the tech checked it, he heard something rattling inside. It was broken! sigh.”

Yep–I had that happen once, too!

Another suggestion from Andrew over at Andrew’s View of the Week:

“On a Mac, use an external USB drive and time machine to backup and consider using iCloud for remote backups.”

@acronis


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

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