How to Backup a PC on an External Hard Drive

By Robert Raphael

Getting an external hard drive for your computer is a very useful thing to do. There are a number of different reasons a PC could lose all the data stored on its internal hard drive. That is why it is highly recommended to make a copy of all your data from a PC's hard drive to an external hard drive. If you want to copy your valuable data on another storage unit, considering it a kind of insurance, you might want to learn a proper way to backup your PC on an external drive.

Step 1

Check the final size of all the data you want to make a backup copy of, to see if your external hard drive will be able to accommodate all of the data.

Step 2

Connect the hard drive to your computer with a USB cable that came with the hard drive. Insert one end of the wire to the computer's USB port and the other in the hard drive.

Step 3

Install the software that came with the hard drive into your computer. Sometimes there is an installation CD or DVD in the external hard drive's package and sometimes no additional programs are needed at all, depending on the manufacturer.

Step 4

Run the program you just installed, or if there isn't one, simply find the icon of the external hard drive and click on it. Either way, there will be an empty window on your screen, representing the external hard drive.

Step 5

Copy all the data you wish to save into the external hard drive's window. Use the drag and drop technique or right-click on a folder or a drive to copy and then copy and paste the data. This part of the process is likely to take a long time, but it ultimately depends on the amount of data you are making a backup copy of.

Step 6

Disconnect or close the external hard drive once the copying process is complete. Make sure to check the option for safe disconnecting of an external hardware prior to disconnecting. Not doing this might cause loss or damage of the data.

Step 7

Reconnect or reopen the external hard drive to check if all the data is there, safe and secure. If you are using a special program for making a PC backup, make sure to follow its exact instructions to guide you through the process.

Tips & Warnings

  • For extra security, make two backups on two different brand hard drives.
  • Experts point out that external drives are just as fragile and reliable as common USB memory sticks and flash drives and make sure to care for your external drive once you have made the backup. Store it in a dry and dark place and occasionally check it out to see if everything is still on it.