College of FAA: How do I Back up My Data?

FAA Mark
This article applies only to Faculty, Staff and Students of the College of Fine and Applied Arts (FAA).
For more information, please contact Technology Services Managed IT Services via:

Technology doesn't always work. From hardware failures, viruses, damage, or theft your data could be at risk. This document will help you learn why we need to back up our data as well as recommended backup solutions.


As technology changes so does our reliance on having our data secure. The value of our data is much higher than the pieces of hardware that run on it. If you have ever experienced loss of data you know how challenging it can be on both a personal and professional level. By following this guidance, you can reduce your likelihood of going through this difficult process.


Q: Where data should be kept on your local machine?

A: That's what your user folder is for.

One way to simplify saving, backing up and recovering data is to store all of your data in one place. Mac and Windows operating systems provide a default location to store data for each user account in a specific folder. This folder includes files saved to the desktop, your documents folder, as well as system preferences. This is also the main place Technology Services at FAA looks for data before reloading or re-imaging a computer.

  • On Macintosh OSX, the user folder is found in /Users/<your_netid>
  • On Windows, the profile folder is found in C:\Users\<your_netid>

Q: What data should be backed up?

A: Depending on your operating system, backing up your user folder (noted above) will preserve much of your user data.

At a minimum, you should backup your most important work and other files that would be difficult to replace. For example: research and creative work data, course files, address books, important images. By following the best practices mentioned above, you will ensure that you are saving and backing up your essential data.

Q: Why you should backup your data?

A: Technology can fail as well as be lost or stolen.

  • System failures – typically happen unexpectedly and can lead to data loss.
  • Hard drive failure - hard drives have a finite lifetime and can fail suddenly and without warning. The sudden death of a hard drive can cause the painful loss of months or years of irreplaceable files and the timing can be catastrophic – if this happens close to a work or college deadline it could be a nightmare scenario.
  • Physical computer damage – Light and portable comes at the price of reduced durability. Laptops are sensitive and are easily damaged if dropped or have drinks spilled over them.
  • Virus Infection – viruses can corrupt files and disable computers.
  • Theft – if your system disappears, so does your data

Q:Besides my user folder, where else can I store my files?

A: The preferred backup solution within FAA is

  • 50gb of storage at no additional charge to university employees
  • Store and share files
  • Edit documents with web plugins
  • Automatically synchronize data between devices and web
  • Manually copy files and folders from your computer to your box folder
  • FERPA approved

This solution makes your files readily available, and prevents data lose from any hardware related failure. For long term file storage, there are other campus approved services that exist for a fee. Technology Services at FAA would be more than happy to discuss these options with you to meet your needs. 


The goal is to secure your data with as little change to your daily work process as possible. No one wants to lose their data. By following these steps, you can greatly reduce your risk for lost data. As always, if you need help, don't hesitate to put in a help request, or call us at 333-1986

Keywords:backup, backing up   Doc ID:63107
Owner:FAA-IT W.Group:University of Illinois Technology Services
Created:2016-05-03 08:17 CSTUpdated:2020-09-17 08:41 CST
Sites:University of Illinois Technology Services
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