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Your Personal Data

Your Personal Data is very important, but what is it, what constitutes 'Personal Data'

Your personal data is any information that you have created (letters, stories, work or other documents, contacts, messages), taken (photos, videos), scanned in (filled in forms, photos, driving license, etc.), or even downloaded, that is important to you and that you cannot re-create, re-capture, or download again. If it were to go missing, would you be able to re-install it, or easily obtain it again? If not, then it is most likely part of your personal data and should be protected and
backed up
- regularly!
When you first get a device, it is just the basic device, the same as anyone and everyone else's who owns the same device. Once you start using it, you personalise it, changing the display, screen saver, setting your user name and generally setting your preferences. Now, it has been personalised, and is unique to you, but you could still pretty easily re-configure it if all of your settings were lost.
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However, once you start saving your own personal data to your device, whether that is a simple photo of your kids, sending or receiving a message, or maybe writing a letter, or storing a scanned copy of your passport, then it has more value to you and the real value is in the data that
have saved to the device, especially any data (photos and other files), that you could not get again, which would be exactly the same.
Yes, you can take more photos, but you'll never get the same ones as you'd previously taken. Yes, you can write a letter again, but it's very unlikely to be exactly the same as one you wrote before, or even have exactly the same meaning and this can be very important, especially when dealing with companies or government departments.
files are your 'Personal Data!'
If you have a backup of these files, you can easily restore your device - or a new device - should the worst happen. So, if you lose your phone, tablet, or laptop, or if it is stolen, or if the internal storage (hard drive, solid state memory) fails, or if you are hit by a virus, spyware, or ransomware that deletes, scrambles or simply denies you access to your files, you'll be able to restore them (but
after removing any virus etc.!).
Regular backing up of these files is important, as they are constantly changing and being added to. Where these files are stored will depend on the device. On mobile phones, it will either be on the internal memory, or SD card if you have one, usually in your 'documents' folder, though photos and videos will be stored in your Camera folder, usually under 'DCIM'. On Windows laptops and PCs, it will usually be under Users and your user name.
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For more details about where to find your personal files on your device and to see the various ways and options for backing up your data, go to our Backup page. Backing up your device is one of - if not the most - important part of keeping your data safe, though of course you still need to take all of the other precautions to keep it safe from criminal preying eyes. You ignore backup at your own peril!
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This page was last updated on: 08 November 2023
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