Back up your school assignments

With Digital, Lost is Lost

Back when homework was completed on paper, a disaster like the classic dog chewing your assignment didn’t necessarily mean the end of your work. You could often recover at least some of it so you weren’t starting from scratch.

Digital files aren’t so forgiving. If a file gets corrupted or you accidentally delete it, that work is gone. Vaporized. Unless you backed it up (or have money to spend on an attempt at data recovery), you’re back to square one. Don’t let that happen …

Back Up to Your Mac or Windows PC

PC makers don’t want you to suffer a catastrophic data loss like the destruction of your homework. Even in an unpredictable event like a power outage or hard drive failure. So Apple and Microsoft both include automated backup tools in their operating systems. Plug in an external drive (you don’t want your backup to be on your computer’s primary drive because, well, if the drive has a problem that means your backup is also in trouble), and choose Backup in Windows 10 or Time Machine in macOS. Both systems make it dead easy to select the folder where you store your homework and automatically back it up every hour. Set it up once and forget about it.

Time Machine backup

If disaster strikes, the file(s) can be recovered in seconds, intact as of the last scheduled backup.

For those lapses when you accidentally close a file you were working on or turn off the computer without thinking about saving your work, most applications have an AutoSave feature. Turn it on. That way the software itself is constantly saving an updated version of your file.

USB thumnb drive for homeworkBack up to a Thumb Drive

I always suggest to my kids that they save copies of their homework and assignments to a USB thumb drive. It’s inexpensive, easy to move from computer to computer, easy to carry and also convenient for having everything easily accessible when working on a computer at their school.

Back up to the Cloud

One of the most reliable ways to back up your homework is also the least expensive — as in free. Both Windows 10 and macOS offer free cloud storage, with OneDrive and iCloud respectively. Each service includes 5GB of free data storage, which should be more than enough to safely back up your school assignments, even those with multimedia files. And if you need more, the fees for additional storage are modest.

You can set your computer to automatically back up to OneDrive or iCloud, or to automatically autosave files as you’re working on them.

OneDrive cloud storage

The cloud offers more advantages than cost when it comes to data backups. Your files are saved offsite, so if someone sets your laptop on fire, you still have access to the data. Because the files are in the cloud, you can access them from anywhere you have an internet connection, including from school. You can even work on the files from another device, like your tablet or a school PC.

Actually completing your homework and school assignments is work enough when you do it once. Make sure you always back it up so you don’t have to do everything a second time …


Brad Moon
Editor Computing solutions
I’m a long-time electronics and gadget geek who’s been fortunate enough to enjoy a career that lets me indulge this interest. I have been writing about technology for several decades for a wide range of outlets including Wired, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, MSN,, Kiplinger, and GeekDad. I’m in my 10th year as a senior contributor for Forbes with a focus on reviewing music-related tech, Apple gear, battery power stations and other consumer electronics. My day job is with the Malware Research Center at AI-native cybersecurity pioneer CrowdStrike.