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Backing up your data

What are backups for?

Making backup copies of files aids security and helps to protect your data from accidental loss: you could inadvertently delete your data, you could suffer hardware failure or your computer may be stolen.

  • The information here relates to backing up personal material that is kept on your own computer, which is your own responsibility: University data should properly reside on central file storage, for reasons of good business practice, security, legal compliance etc. IT Services takes backup copies of all data held centrally; this includes your personal and group file space and the mail spool areas (where your incoming mail is stored until you read it), as well as the main University web server and the administrative servers.

General considerations: about backup media and generations of backups.

There are many different types of backup, covering many contingencies. We will consider the three most common types of backup:

  • Disks: to enable you to reinstate the contents of an entire disk, in the event that your computer becomes unusable because of data corruption or physical damage, or if your computer is stole.
  • File backups: to enable you to restore earlier versions of particular files, or groups of file.
  • Archives: to preserve files for the indefinite future.

These three backup types are quite different, but all equally important.

How to backup your personal files


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Contact the IT Service Desk

Log a call using IT Self-Service
(01334 46) 3333
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(Mon - Fri, 09:00 - 17:00)

Level 2
University Library
North Street
St Andrews
Fife KY16 9TR

Opening Hours
Mon - Fri
: 08:30-18:00
(front desk support
from 09:00)

Sat: 10:00-17:00
Sun: 11:00-18:00

The IT Service Desk is closed
for staff training on Fridays
between 09:30 and 10:30