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Office of Information Technology (OIT)

UT Arlington
OIT: Office of Information Technology

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Data Back Up Overview

Please Note:  Users are responsible for backing up their own data.  OIT provides the following information to help users with this task.

What is a backup?

A backup is one or more copies of your data (pictures, music, documents, homework) and settings (bookmarks, preferences, desktop, etc), which allows you to recover from events such as computer viruses, hardware failures, and accidental file deletions.

Should I backup my data?

You should definitely backup if you can answer the question "Would I be upset if something tragic happened to this data, and it was no longer available?" and if losing the data will cost you time, money, or stress to reproduce.  A backup can also be useful for those files or e-mails that you 'might need someday' but don't want to have cluttering up your computer (sometimes referred to as an archive).  Backups also make it easier to get working again if OIT has to rebuild your computer, or you have to restore it to a 'factory' state. 

UTA employees who have CERTS are strongly encouraged to back them up, as losing them will require starting the application process again.

What should I backup?  When should I backup?

Any data that would be difficult or impossible to recreate if it should be lost should be backed-up.  This includes pictures, papers, spreadsheets, historical information, e-mails, music, home video, etc.  Data that changes often needs to be backed up often; other data just needs to be checked from time to time.  Fortunately, backup programs can check to see if files have changed, and only worry about things that are not part of the current backup or that have changed, making it reasonable to backup every day.  Remember, a backup is just a copy of the data.  if you have a copy somewhere else, you have a backup.

Where should I backup?

While is is possible to backup your computer to your computer, it is not recommended.  This would protect against accidental file deletion, but computer crashes and viruses would still cause data loss.  The three most common options are external hard drives, CD/DVD's, and online storage.  Each has advantages and disadvantages, and the best solution may use more than one option.  Sensitive data requires special considerations.

How do I backup?

Fortunately, making backups can be easy and automatic, with just a little bit of setup.  If you find that what you are doing now doesn't fit your needs any more, it can be changed.  The first step is to determine what you need to backup, the second is to decided where to back it up, and the third is to make the computer do it for you.

OIT recommends using the built in backup tools for Windows and OS X.  Tools supplied with external hard drives are not supported by OIT.

Instructions for Backing Up Windows XP

Instructions for Backing Up Windows 7

Manual / Specific File Type Instructions for Windows

Instructions for Backing Up Mac OS X

Available To:

  • Faculty (currently appointed) and Staff
  • Currently Enrolled UT Arlington Students


Personal Data Backup Policy

Related Information:

Sensitive Data

Data Loss

Data Classification

Security Tools