Backing up your files, whether it’s a short essay plan, or your entire dissertation, is one of the most important things you can get into the habit of doing during your time at university. We’re all so used to our computers doing exactly what we ask of them, but sometimes they decide not to play ball, and that can lead to disaster on hand in day if your saved file has inexplicably disappeared!
A student’s worst nightmare – you’ve finally finished that essay which has been weighing you down for weeks, and you head to the library to print it out, or send it via the uni’s electronic system, ready to have it out of your life for good. You open the folder you could have sworn you saved it in, and it’s nowhere to be seen. You have an hour till hand in and the assignment you’ve spent the past two weeks working on has vanished from your hard drive.
I don’t know about you, but the mere thought of that situation has me breaking out in a sweat! I was always particularly paranoid about making sure I had double, usually triple backed up my files as a student, so I thought I’d share with you a few different options you have to keep your assignments safely saved and ready to hand in at the deadline!
Copy on to a USB Stick
This first one is probably the most common way students back up their files. After saving your essay to whatever file you’re keeping it in on your computer, copying it on to a USB stick is not only a super easy way to take your documents home from the library to work on it from the comfort of your bedroom, but it means you instantly have a second copy of your file which you can upload to a computer and print if you need to!
Upload to Dropbox
Ahh Dropbox. I’m a fan of Dropbox. Backing up your files on websites like this is brilliant because it doesn’t rely on you remembering to put your USB stick in your bag – there’s nothing more frustrating than getting to the library and realising your USB is sitting on your laptop at home! You can log on to any computer and get access to your files through Dropbox. From word documents, PDFs and PowerPoint Presentations to photos and videos, you can store anything on here. All you have to do is type in your log in details and BOOM, instant access to your file!
This system is also ideal for group work, as you can create shared folders (via email address) to upload your files to!
Email it to Yourself
A personal favourite of mine, I got into the habit early on in my university career of emailing my documents to myself as an extra way of backing them up. Again, this is a useful way of doing it because it doesn’t rely on you bringing a disk or USB stick with you, and is easily accessible from any location, even your phone! It’s such a quick and easy way of ensuring you have an extra copy.
Upload to Google Drive
Most of us have a Google account these days, but even if you currently don’t, it takes just a couple of minutes to set one up! I think the drive is a really handy aspect of the whole Gmail/Google system. If you go into your Google Drive, which you can access by clicking on the little Apps box at the top of the screen (pictured above!), you can upload as many documents as you like.
Use an External Hard Drive
If you have a particularly huge piece of work to back up, it might be an idea to invest in a larger external hard drive. Not only does this mean you have extra storage for life, but it means that if you run out of space on your USB stick, you have somewhere to save your work! This might be a pricier way of going about it, but it’s always something to consider!
Print a Copy in Advance
And finally we have the old fashioned way! Try to be environmentally friendly, and don’t print a new copy of your essay or report every time you make a change to it, but once you’re fairly sure it doesn’t require further editing, you can always print out one copy, just in case! This was something I tried not to do too often (thinking of the trees!), but if your internet is particularly temperamental, or you’ve had a bad experience with a USB stick in the past, this might make you feel a bit more secure!
So there you have it – six ways to back up your documents to ensure no essays go missing before the deadline!
What way do you usually back up your files?
Thanks for reading! Be sure to follow along on the various social media sites below!