HackerMost people think it will never happen to them…. but data loss happens all the time. Whether you accidentally delete a file, or a virus ravages your entire memory, you will find yourself wishing you’d taken the time to back up your computer. It’s simple and easy to do, if you follow these four steps for backing up a computer using a Windows operating system.

1. Purchase a backup drive. There are a variety of different types on the market, but any USB external hard drive will do. If you can get one that has twice as much space as your computer, you’ll have room for multiple backups and all data you create or receive in the future.
2. Plug in the backup drive, and Windows will ask you if you want to use it. Simply click yes. If you don’t get the automatic prompt, go to the Start menu and type in “backup” in the search box. Click on Backup and Restore.
3. Now click the Set up Backup button. Choose the external drive you just plugged in, and then click on Next. The default settings are usually just fine, so you can breeze through that screen and click Next again.
4. Now should be on the last screen. Click on Save Settings and Run Backup. At this point Windows will begin backing up your drive. Don’t turn off your computer until it is finished.

After this initial process, backup will be effortless. Your computer will make automatic backups in the background as you’re using it, and you won’t have to remember to do anything.

If you ever lose a file and need to restore it, go back to the Start Menu and type in “backup” again. Click on Backup and Restore. When you click on the Restore My Files or Restore Users files button, you can get your files back.

Clearly, it’s very easy to set up an external drive. But it’s important to remember that the drive itself is simply another electronic gadget that can be lost or broken at some point. Using an external drive is a great idea, but for the best protection you shouldn’t rely on it exclusively. Remember to back up your data in at least one more way that can’t be stolen or damaged.