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Cloud Storage: What Size Account Do I Need?

One common question when it comes to investing in an online backup solution is quite simply what size account you need. After all, many providers of cloud storage solutions offer a range of accounts with varying memory limits so deciding on the best cloud storage solution for your needs can be something of a challenge.

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They key, of course, is figuring out how much data you already have on your hard drive and how much of it you actually want to back up. Add a small amount of additional space to give you "room to grow" and you’ll have a fair idea of just what size of account you’re going to need.

Let’s take a look at a simple process for defining the size of account that is right for your needs.

What Do You Want To Back Up?

Different cloud storage providers offer varying types of backup. For example some people may just want to back up their important photographs and videos so these personal memories are never lost. Other people may want to back up all the files on their computer (and more popular option) so that no matter what happens they know they are protected and can restore any files that get lost or damaged.

Some online backup users take this level of protection even higher and actually want to back up their entire hard drive – including their operating system, system settings and all the software they have running on their computer.

Understandably this last option offers the very best protection in the case of an emergency and saves you having to reinstall all the applications that you use on a regular basis. That said, this form of online backup uses vastly more memory than backing up simple files and the initial backup when you signup can be a lengthy process (read: days).

As a result of this data-intensive process not all cloud backup providers actually offer the option to back up everything on your hard drive though some of the better providers on the market certainly do and it’s this alternative which I have personally chosen.

However before you calculate the amount of storage you’re going to need it’s important to be conscious of what files you want to store, so that we can calculate their size easily and consequently ensure you sign up for an appropriate account.

Calculating Your Hard Drive Size On A Mac

If you’re running a Mac then locate the blue "Finder" icon and navigate your way to your hard drive. By clicking on it once you should find that a box pops up, providing information on the amount of data stored on your hard drive.

Calculating Your Hard Drive Size On A PC

If you’re using a PC then the process of working out the amount of memory you’re using is almost as easy. Click the "Start" menu and from here select "My Computer" which will bring up a list of the storage devices connected to your computer. Simply right click on any that you want to back up and from the popup menu select "Properties". Here you’ll see a visual representation of how much memory you’re using.

The Final Calculation

If you’re looking to back up your entire hard drive including your software then the figure you’ve just calculated will be a fair approximation of the online storage account size you’ll be needing. Don’t worry – this figure can seem large but professional online storage providers are prepared for this and more.

Equally, if you only want to back up specific folders on your computer then follow the same basic process but additionally "drill down" to the specific folders you want to protect and view the size of each of these. By making a list and then putting a value by each you’ll quickly be able to add up all of your storage needs to find an appropriate online storage solution.

Lastly remember that if all this seems like too much effort then there are a limited number of online backup providers who actually offer unlimited storage making such calculations unnecessary.

This is a guest post by Richard Adams who blogs extensively about the best ecommerce software.

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