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The best backups are automated

If you have to remember to make a backup happen, it probably won't. Here's to automate!

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A common complaint from general computer users is that making backups is too hard. That was true when backups required manually swapping floppy disks, or burning CDs. But today — thanks to the magic of the internet (and general networking) — it's very easy to set backups to happen all by themselves.

Whether you automate backups to copy or synchronise files to a network storage device in your home, or you automate backups to an off-site or cloud destination, there are some simple tools that can do it all without much fuss. All you have to do is choose the local folders, choose the destination and choose what days and times the backups should occur.

There are the free cloud storage tools that constantly back-up files, like Dropbox, SugarSync, SafeSync and others, but there are also much more targeted backup (rather than sync) tools for sending your backup to exactly where you want it stored.

Microsoft offers SyncToy for free, and there are paid options like JungleDisk available for Windows, and SuperDuper for Mac.