How To Save Files To External Hard Drive

Dear Computer Lady,

I bought an external hard drive to use as a backup for my files. I was under the impression it saved them automatically. This doesn’t seem to be the case.

How can I save files to the external drive? Save them twice, once to the computer and once to the drive? And is there a way to tell which drive they have been saved to?

Thanks for clarifying this procedure. Marianne

Dear Marianne,

You can use your external hard drive to save a copy of each file that you work on, but that would be the hard way of doing things and you might easily end up working on the wrong copy of your file.

An easier way to use your external hard drive would be to use it with a backup program. I would suggest you either use a program like Acronis True Image, or the built in Windows backup.

You can set up the Windows backup to run automatically once a week using the “Backup and Restore” section of the Control Panel. Here is how.

1. Click on your start button and type, “Control Panel”. Click on the control panel link.

2. In the Control Panel, click on “System and Security”, then click on “Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

3. Click “Set up Backup” to start setting up the automatic backup.

4. Select your external hard drive as the drive to save your backup on.

5. You can let Windows choose what to backup, or you can select the folders yourself. You can also set up a backup schedule.

Once you are finished setting up, all you have to do is remember to plug in the external drive at the scheduled backup time.



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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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