How To Backup To External Hard Drive

[ad]Dear computer lady,

I bought an external hard drive and don’t understand how to back up my computer.

Do I just plug it into a usb and it starts backing everything up or do I have to do something else?

Thank you, Yvonne

Dear Yvonne,

You have to either backup your files yourself, or set up a software program to do it for you.

My favorite way to backup files is to open two explorer windows. One for the external hard drive, and the other for my computer. Place the two windows side by side on your desktop so that you can see the contents of each folder.

On the window for your computer, go to your C: drive and open it.

On your C: drive, you should see a folder called, “Users” that folder contains your documents folder, your favorites, your desktop, pictures, videos, and pretty much everything else that you have saved on your computer.

If you drag the “Users” folder from the C: drive window to the external hard drive window, the computer will copy that folder and all sub-folders to the external hard drive. This could take a while if you have a lot of data saved on your computer.

When the computer has finished copying, I like to make sure it was done correctly by comparing the size of each “Users” folder. Right click on the folder and click “Properties” in the context menu. The size and number of files and folders should be almost the same for each copy.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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