Back up procedures

There are built-in programs within operating systems to back up your device, including mobiles phones. The trick is knowing how to set them up for automated and regular back ups.

Windows OS

Included in Windows 7 is Backup and Restore, which allows you to set up a scheduled back up to a DVD or external hard drive of all or some of your files. Check out the Back and Restore help pages for more information including frequently asked questions and an instructional video.


Time Machine is the built-in backup for Mac devices. It automatically backs up your entire Mac, including system files, applications, accounts, preferences, email messages, music, photos, movies, and documents as well as how your system looks to an external drive or AirPort Time Capsule. Time Machine keeps hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups until your backup drive is full. Visit the Mac support website for more information on setting up Time Machine for different installs of the operating system. 


The programs on Windows and Mac utilise the Linux commands rsync and cron so you can use these on Linux to set up a automated back up of files or folders on your system. RSYNC copies new and modified files from one directory to another which can be on a server. CRON runs command line actions to a schedule that you define in the CRONTAB. Wikipedia has a comprehensive guide for more instructions on using CRON.