Knowledgebase: Security
Laptop Program: Data Backup and Laptop Imaging
Updated: 12 June 2018 10:31 AM


Every year, we have at least two or more Fourth Year Thesis students with lost projects and unrecoverable data. Do not be this person. We strongly recommend that you purchase a hard drive to back up your files.


Time Machine Backup on Mac OS X

Using Windows 10 Backup


What External Drive Should I Buy?

Hard drives come in multiple sizes and formats, with both USB, USB and Firewire drives, Thunderbolt, and small portable drives as well as full size desktop drives.

The primary differences are:

  • Speed of the drive: small portable hard disk drives typically run at a lower speed, and are less suitable for high-performance applications (such as editing video).
  • Size of the drive: we recommend at a drive at least twice as large as your primary drive in your laptop, or the project you're planning to work on (in the case of an external media drive)
  • Type of drive: Is it a spinning Hard Disc Drive? or is it a Solid State Drive? Hard drives are larger, cheaper, but mechanical and vulnerable to shock and vibration. Solid State Drives are faster, but generally lower capacity, and more expensive.
  • Drive Interface: Is it USB2 (slowest), USB3 (pretty fast), or Thunderbolt (fastest)

Hard Disc Drive (HDD): HDD - inside


Solid State Drive (SSD): Samsung SSD 830 Series 128Gb 2,5

Here are some recommendations:

External Media Drive (for Video Editing, Animation or other large data files)

  • 7200rpm 500GB HDD or larger (USB3.0 or Thunderbolt)
  • 120GB or larger SSD External Media Drive (USB3.0 or Thunderbolt)

Example: LaCie Thunderbolt/USB3.0 Drive (SSD or HDD)

Backup Drive

  • 5400rpm 1TB HDD (USB3.0, USB2.0)

Example: LaCie Rikiki USB3.0 Drive (HDD)


Where Can I Purchase a Backup Hard Drive?

You can purchase backup hard drives Online (Amazon, Best Buy, Staples, Apple) or in person at the Apple Store Eaton Centre, Microsoft Store Eaton Centre, Best Buy (Bay/Dundas) and Staples (University/Armoury).



When we refer to the "image" in the Laptop Program, we are talking about the optimized software installation that we place on your laptop computer.

  • We take one computer, install all the software and then take a snapshot of the computer or an image, which we then deploy to every laptop program student.
  • You retain full control of your computer: you have administrative access in the operating system to your laptop, so you can install additional software and manage system updates.
  • We image computers rather than perform manual installations because: 
    • It's faster. A basic image for Macs takes about 2 hours.
    • There are no install discs to lose or serial numbers to save
    • If your computer becomes unstable due to a software problem, we can easily "reimage" your computer rather than diagnose the issue which usually requires a complete reinstall.