Why, And How, You Should Backup Your PhD Work

We all know that we should backup our work regularly because the risk of losing it is devastating for a PhD student – you can’t get it back and that work was years in the making.

But, there are a few things to keep in mind when backing up your work.

The first is to make a time every week (or even more frequently if you have certain data that’s very important) to do it. Put it in your calendar, add it to your phone’s reminders, tattoo it to your forehead, anything and everything that makes sure that you’ll remember and DO IT!

The second thing to keep in mind is to back it up to a different device. A common mistake when backing up work is that the person just makes a copy of it and puts it on the same computer (more specifically, the same hard drive) that s/he is working on. While the effort is commendable, this does not remove all of the risk – a backup is there not only in the event that you accidentally delete something but also if something happens to your computer. It might break or be stolen, or just malfunction. By backing up your work on a different device, this mitigates this risk.

The third thing to keep in mind is how to backup your work. The easiest way is just to copy and paste your entire hard drive to another hard drive (or on the cloud). This is fine, however, over time, you will have dozens of copies and if you want to find a certain item, it can become difficult to remember which version was the one you’re after. If you do backup your work with this approach, then keep notes about what major differences there are between each version. Alternatively, you could just keep the latest copies of each file, if that is appropriate for your work.

So, backup your work regularly, and do it in a way that mitigates the risk of losing it.

Do it!


If you want to read more about how to make your PhD better, read our book, “100 Tips For Doing Your PhD” where we cover this, as well as 99 other tips to make other aspects of your PhD, like staying motivated, getting a job, and having a good work-life balance much easier and better.

Read it here:

Ebook: https://phdvoice.org/product/100-tips-for-doing-your-phd/

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BXMYVYCF

(We also translated it into Arabic here: https://phdvoice.org/product/100-tips-for-doing-your-phd-arabic/

And Spanish here:


Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0C1DN9ZG4)

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