For many, their PC is the beginning and endpoint for important data storage. This creates a treasure trove of information that needs to be protected. Backing up data is an important way that the treasure trove of information can be protected in the event of a cyberattack or disaster. Newer versions of Windows include a backup utility which begs the question, do you need third-party software to facilitate backups?
Depending on which version of Windows is installed on a particular machine, will determine what backup tools are available to the user. In Windows Vista and 7, the tool is called Backup and Restore. With Windows 8 Backup and Restore was replaced with what became known as File History. Due to a convoluted series of updates, those that upgraded to Windows 8.1 had both features. For a time, Windows 10 had both Backup and Restore and File History. Both are still available, however, in terms of help guides and official documentation Backup and Restore is the favored utility. This is still the case at the time of writing but using Backup and Restore is the preferable option, at least in this writers’ opinion.
The utilities offered by Windows, while certainly better than nothing and can still save the day in the event of a data disaster, are limited in terms of functionality when compared to windows backup software options. Some of the limitations include a lack of customizing backups. When dealing with a lot of data this may prove difficult when needing to keep everything organized.
Lack of customization is not the only limitation. Backup and Restore does not allow for single files to be backed up, entire drives need to be selected. Then an image of that drive will be created. Both utilities also lack a native cloud backup option and require a separate service, like OneDrive, to carry out a backup to a cloud. Users are also limited in the types of storage that will be used during the backup process, typically cannot backup hard drives that are FAT formatted.
Often the discussion surrounding third-party backup solutions tends to focus on enterprise-level protection and how to ensure the best possible data protection policy. For at-home users, these discussions fail to bring across the need to protect personal data. The modern reality is that home users need to treat their data similarly to the way enterprises should. Backing up data is a fundamental pillar of data protection and the Windows utilities mentioned above will help but as has been seen are limited.
Third-party software offerings help negate those limitations by allowing better scheduling and automation of file types. Further, software packages offer far more customization options while still offering an easy-to-use interface. Lastly, software packages will allow for the backing up of several file formats and media file types Windows utilities do not offer.
While Windows’ backup utilities are better than nothing, users will need to supplement these tools with third-party software packages to truly protect their data from a cyberattack or disaster such as hardware failure. The software option is the most logical choice for users as the next step in securing and protecting their important information and memories.
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