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By: Rich DeMuro
Apr. 1, 2013

We store a lot of important information on our computers: beloved photos, important documents and music collections. But all that can be gone in an instant with a computer crash.

Though more and more of our everyday computing, like e-mail, is stored online, there is plenty of information still on our hard drives.

“About 23 billion gigabytes worth of content is generated almost every single year,” said Matt Bennion of Western Digital.

We spoke with technology experts for their thoughts and recommendations on the best practices for backing up data in our computers.

Tom Merritt, Tech News Today host, recommends storing data in three places: the computer you’re using it on, a remote location like a cloud service and a hard drive.

Thanks to advances in technology backing up data is now cheaper and easier..

External hard drives have become very affordable. “You can get 500 gigabytes or even a terabyte worth of content that you can back up several computers with for less than a hundred bucks, Bennion said.

For newer PCs and Mac computers, the process is made even easier with the help of built in backup programs like Microsoft’s File History and Apple’s Time Machine.

“[But] almost one-third of the people, at some point in their lives, lose a hard drive,” Bennion said.

That’s why experts also recommend using an online backup service such as Carbonite or CrashPlan. These services typically start at $60 a year and will encrypt your data before leaving your computer.

Merritt said that by taking these steps to back up your computer, your data will be much safer, especially the settings and applications that “you may not think you’ll miss them now but you may miss them later.”