I have had my Dell laptop for almost 4.5 years now, and I think it is finally ready to quit on me... I have received two blue screen errors in the last week, so I am starting to get pretty nervous! My question is: What is the best (easiest, cheapest, fastest, etc.) way to get all of my files backed up so that if/when my computer decides not to turn on one day, I won't lose all of my photos, itunes library, word docs, etc.???
Plug in an external hard drive and drag-and-drop all your important files to it.
There's plenty of backup software available that can perform scheduled backups on a full/incremental/cycling basis, but as far as "quick and good enough" goes, drag-and-drop works without the hassle of choosing a package, installing it, and figuring out how it works.
That being said, going 4 years without doing regular backups is asking for trouble. Once you get everything stabilized I'd definitely look into something to do regular backups to protect your files. Not everyone gets the benefit of advance warning - most people loose data because their hard drive just dies suddenly.
What do you recommend for an external hard drive? If I got a new computer, could my files be transferred from the external HD onto the new computer? Also, I do have "McAfee Total Protection" software on my computer... Do you know if that software has a backup capability? If not, what "backup" software do you recommend?
I don't have a particular favourite for external hard drives - I treat them pretty much as a commodity. The one thing I look for is a drive that doesn't come with any software or require anything special in order to run - but that's just me.
As far as backup goes, I'm not really familiar with the various packages out there. I back up my own system with PowerShell scripts that drive WinRAR, but you need to have a fair bit of scripting background to go that route.