Creating a data backup is important. Whether it’s sudden unresponsiveness, malware infection, or theft, it may only take one unfortunate event for you to lose everything. Make the time to preserve your data so you don’t risk losing them forever.

Once you’ve decided on a backup system and plan, ensure you cover every important piece of data you use. Below is a list of what you should have a backup copy of.

Apps and app data

Keeping a copy of app installers is wise. For one, apps may disappear from app stores and download sites. For another, you may want a copy of the older versions of your apps. This can be useful when newer versions no longer support your hardware and/or operating system, have discontinued and removed the features you regularly use or introduce bugs and system instability. For the same reasons, back up any device driver installers you have.

Also, verify if your backup system properly saves your apps’ data. Without them, you will have to set up these apps anew when you restore them or reinstall them on a new device. Save your product keys, serial numbers, and other information necessary for your software license. You will need these when you need to reinstall and/or reactivate Windows and other software.

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Do you use two-factor authentication apps? Confirm if the linked accounts are still there when you restore your 2FA app from a backup copy. Otherwise, you might be locked out of these accounts.

Settings

Settings allow you to configure your device the way you like. Your preferences on connections, notifications, privacy, and accessibility are all found in settings, along with saved Wi-Fi passwords, paired Bluetooth devices, location tracking permissions, battery-saving features, and themes. Look up how to backup and sync settings for your operating system.

Browser bookmarks, extensions, and settings

A lot of us spend a good amount of time online, especially on social media. Hence, we need to back up the main way we explore and view websites on the Internet—our web browsers. Keep a copy of your

bookmarks/favorites and extensions. See if your web browser has a built-in feature to automatically backup and sync your browser settings—including bookmarks and extensions—across devices.

Videos & photos

Videos and photos hold sentimental value and are irreplaceable. If you want to leave the original quality and resolution of your videos and photos intact, use a backup service or software that lets you store your multimedia files without any conversions and compressions. For this matter, avoid Facebook and Google Photos if you want to keep the quality. They may downsize your uploads to save storage space despite the quality loss.

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Contacts and Messages

Your inbox may contain important conversations especially for work and school activities. You never know when you’ll need them for future reference, so create a backup for your SMS messages and emails, and other forms of electronic communication.

That said, download a copy of your messages on Facebook Messenger and other social media. If you are locked out of your account, or you permanently deleted it, then you won’t have access to your messages.

Check all contacts you have on your phonebook. They may be stored on the phone itself or on the SIM card. Ensure all contact information is saved on the backup. These include names, phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses.

Game saves

You’ll want a copy of the saved files for your video games so you don’t lose your progress and start all over. While game platforms like Steam and Epic Games let you sync your save data to the cloud, it’s recommended you have your own offline copy as well if it’s important to you.

Test Your Backup Data

A backup is just the start. For peace of mind, confirm if the recovery process works as expected and if all your data are secured and restorable. Perform a test recovery by restoring your data on a recovery environment, such as a spare device or on a virtual machine.



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