Backing Up Your Files with External Drives

When you buy a computer, you rarely expect to see it fail and yet they do fail. Even if you have the latest build and the hottest chip set on the market, any component in the system can cause a complete system failure and you can lose valuable information. This can be a very bad situation, especially if the main drive of your computer system becomes corrupt or fails due to wear and heavy use. Fortunately, there are several ways to avoid losing all of your information that is stored on your computer system that you have been saving for months or even years.

There are many choices you can use to back up your files, including USB drives that are small and easy to use to desktop external drives that can hold Terabytes of information. Depending on your situation and the role your computer plays, you can choose to back up a folder or two of files or an entire system that contains years of business information from your office. Some systems can be backed up on “cloud” servers that you only need Internet access to use.

In most cases you can use the standard desktop drive that is like the internal hard drive in your computer. The difference is that an external drive connects to your computer through a USB connector and will need its own power source. These systems are easy to use and can be unplugged from your main system to be used on another system or to be moved to a different location. This type of backup hard drive can hold several Terabytes of information and is great for business applications, music files and very large libraries of files that networks might contain. In most cases the backup hard drive can be password-protected to keep the information from being accessed by other users that might come into possession of the drive.

There are also smaller USB drives that have a USB connector at one end and the actual storage drive at the other end. These can be as small as a key chain holder and can hold several Gigabytes of information. They use the power from the main computer through the USB connection and only need to be plugged into a USB connector to be accessed. These drives are usually small and have no moving parts that can wear out under heavy use. They can also be carried in a pocket or purse and can also be password-protected if they are lost to protect access to the files.

Then there is “cloud computing.” If you have an Internet connection, you can join a cloud storage network and upload your files to servers that may be at several different locations. This helps in the event of a failure because your information and files are not stored in one single location. The worse case would be that some files might be lost but most of your files and information would be recoverable. This would probably be the most reliable way to back up your files, but there is less security than having your own personal hard drive to back your information up to.

These three options are the most common solutions used today when protecting your files and information from a hard drive failure. Some options are more reliable than others, but all options have advantages specific to their use and application. Some companies will use triple redundancy to back up their information and files to have the most options in the event that entire networks of systems fail. There may not be an absolutely perfect solution to every event, but luck does favor the prepared. The more you plan ahead in a situation that involves your website, personal files and business information, the better chance you will have to recover from a complete system or network failure. Always plan ahead and back up all of your important information.