5 Everyday Things You Can Do to Keep Your Computer Healthy


Back It Up!

One easy way to remember your backup system -- which is to say, remember to actually use it -- is to remember that World Backup Day comes just before April Fool's Day, and that's no mistake. A lot of us are moving into the cloud these days, keeping our information and media online and accessing or streaming it at-will.

But if your needs are different -- if you have lots of data or media you want to keep to yourself, protect, or otherwise maintain access to regardless of equipment failure -- you really should listen to your IT guy and back that stuff up. (You also should have a backup system for all your important files you keep in the cloud.) While external hard drives have become easy to come by, there are plenty of services that provide storage, free or for a price, that can sync your data easily and seamlessly, so that you never have to worry about another crash or disaster.

Questions you should use to guide this search for the perfect match for your needs: How does the syncing work, and how often does it happen? Can you share the data with other people or computers? Can you access your data over the Web? Does it cover more than one computer? How about more than one type? Can you get a plan for both Macs and PCs at once? And how much is price a factor? You're going to be using gadgets other than your desktop or laptop more and more, if you don't already: You may need phone access or tablet access in the future that you don't need now, and the hassle of moving large storehouses of information can quickly be a real drag.

While many of the larger companies cater to a certain kind of paranoia -- as a sales tactic, of course -- these questions still matter, because you need to find the perfect backup service for you. The information that is most important to you will be just as important, at the end of the day, regardless of what you decide here. But in terms of your computer's health, and your own peace of mind, this is a comparison-shopping situation that could end up meaning a great deal down the road. Think about it this way: The more time you spend making the best choice now, the more likely you are to actually use the service, which is the end goal.