If you have a Windows or Mac computer, you want to make sure it's backed up. This not only makes sure you keep the valuable stuff on your computer, but it also makes it easier to restore in the event of failure or a virus. There's an enterprise grade tool from Veeam that's 100% free to use for Windows. The Time Machine backups for Mac is free and is the best to use for Mac's.
The Veeam backup agent for Windows is 100% free for business or personal use. They have paid versions of it for businesses, but the free agent offers the same protection for home or business computers. If your business has a lot of computers that need backing up, you'll want to leverage the paid version for central management, especially if you run virtual machines or servers. You can find the free Veeam agent for Windows here. Free Windows Backup Solution for PCs and Endpoints (veeam.com)
How to Backup your Computer for Free using Veeam
You will want to store your data somewhere else than a device that's attached to your computer. The best way to do this is with a NAS or if you have a high-speed internet connection and have Microsoft Office subscription you can use OneDrive as a destination with Veeam.
You can get a NAS for not a lot of money. I recommend going with a Synology or QNAP. If you're on a tight budget, you can get away with using a single drive as this is a backup and the likely hood of your main computer and the NAS drive failing at the same time is unlikely. If you can, I do recommend a 2 disk NAS and mirroring the drives (RAID 1) for redundancy if a drive fails you can replace the bad drive as the other drive is still storing your data, then it will mirror again.
A good 1 disk NAS is QNAP TS-133 and the two-disk version is QNAP TS-233. You'll need to purchase hard drives to install in there the NAS appliance. It is supper easy to install, you screw in the hard drives to the NAS trays and pop them in the slots. It's that simple.
A rule of thumb to finding what size hard drive to pick is too multiple your current disk space used by four. If you have a 1TB (1024GB) drive and are only using 300GB then you want to use a 2TB drive. If you have 2TB of data, you'll want to get an 8TB drive. Having more storage is better, so if going with higher storage is not a lot more money, opt for going with a higher capacity drive.
I recommend the Seagate Iron Wolf line for drives. They can be found on Amazon. You'll notice a 2TB drive at the time of writing is around $69 and a 4TB drive is around $74, a $5 difference for double the capacity. In this instance I'd recommend the 4TB drive. The speed of the drive for this type of backups isn't as important, but if you want more speed the Iron Wolf Pro line offers slightly faster drives.
If you go with the NAS option, you'll want to setup a network share in QNAP. I'm creating another guide for doing that. For now, we will go with the steps after the network share is setup. You do not want to map the network drive or save it in Windows, because if you get a virus, it can infect your backups if it's saved in Windows. Usually connecting to the drive with username and password will save it in Windows. If you did this, then Windows credential manager likely has it stored and you can delete it from there. Just do a search for Windows Credential Manager in your start menu or search bar on the taskbar and it should show up.
Once you have the NAS share setup you schedule a job in the Veeam agent. You do this by clicking the 3 bars or "hamburger" button as some call it, then click add new job as shown in the image below.
You name your backup, then hit next. It's recommended to back up your entire computer. This is considered an "image" based backup which will restore your entire computer, files and applications to the point in time when that backup occurred. The next option is picking the location of your backup. For the NAS you want to select the 2nd option, which is shared folder.
The next step you'll put in your NAS address and credentials. You'll want these credentials to be different than your web admin credentials that logs in the NAS. You will also want to keep backups for longer than 7 days. Malicious attackers sometimes setup a timer for ransomware that goes off after 32 days. If you have a backup that's deleted before the 32-day time, your system will still be infected with the ransomware timer, and it will go off again after you restore. Typically, you'll want 4 weeks, 12 months, and 1 year. This can be configured after you check the GFS retention policy and click the configure button.
You will also want to set the month from January to match the month you are starting your backups. This way the 12 months doesn't extend past the yearly, or end before causing a gap in backups.
Skip the backup cache option. If your system is infected with a ransomware timer, it will likely encrypt the local cache making your backups worthless.
Next, you'll want to schedule your backups. Depending on how often you use your computer you'll want to set the schedule around that. I usually set it for every day, and then backup once powered on in case my computer is off during the scheduled time slot. Apply your settings then run the backup or let it run during its scheduled time.
You now have a backup that is setup for Free if you use OneDrive or if you opted for the NAS option with a little bit of expense. If you want to keep your stuff and have an easy way to restore your entire computer this is one of the best ways to do it and not have to pay anything for software. You can also restore individual files from this backup too. You'll also want to create a USB boot disk in the event you need to restore your entire computer from backup. Make sure to store your password for the NAS share outside of your computer in either a web based encrypted vault, or for personal use you can write it down and store it somewhere you'll remember where it's at. You don't want to write down your passwords in an office environment where others can see it, but for home that's ok to do.
If you need help with setting this up, have questions or suggestions, or need other IT Support, contact us and we'll be happy to help.