How do I Back Up to an External Hard Drive?

The truth is, computers fail. Whether it is the result of a natural disaster, virus, hard drive crash, or spilled glass of water, it is very important to protect yourself by creating and storing a copy of important photos, documents, music and more. This copy can also come in handy if your computer is stolen or lost.

We recommend that you back up your entire system to an external hard drive, so you can access your regular applications, preferences, data and drivers from a new device whenever the time comes. The right back up system can be set to back up your system on a regular basis, so you can always access the most up-to-date version of your computer and its files.

Whether you use a Windows-based PC or a Mac, start by purchasing an external hard drive that connects to your USB port. You can pick one up at almost any electronic store or any number of online retailers. Try to select a product that has at least twice the storage space as your computer, in order to allow for multiple backups and plenty of space to grow into. Bring the product home, plug it into your computer and follow the on-screen steps to set it up. Make sure you select auto-backup, so the backups will always be up-to-date with no effort on your part. Depending on how often you work on your computer, daily or weekly backups set to run during “off” hours are probably best.