How to Backup Your Computer to an External Hard Drive

Selecting Files and Folders for Backup

Selecting Files and Folders for Backup

When it comes to backing up your computer to an external hard drive, selecting which files and folders to include is crucial. These choices will determine what data will be preserved in case of a system failure or accidental deletion. To ensure that you have a comprehensive backup, follow these steps:

1. Identify Important Documents:

Start by identifying and locating the most critical documents on your computer. These may include important work files, financial records, legal documents, or personal memoirs. Take your time to thoroughly go through your computer’s folders and subfolders, making a list of the files that you cannot afford to lose.

2. Compile Photos and Videos:

Photos and videos often hold priceless memories, making them essential items to include in your backup. Locate your photo and video libraries, which may be stored in folders such as “Pictures” or “Videos.” Subfolders such as “Vacations,” “Family,” or “Birthdays” may contain collections that you cherish. Ensure that all these folders are included in your backup selection.

3. Consider Installed Programs:

While backing up your computer, it is important to understand that installed programs cannot simply be copied to an external hard drive. However, you can create a list of these programs to help facilitate their reinstallation once your computer has been restored. Make sure to note down any necessary license keys or activation codes that may be needed.

4. Preserve Important Email Accounts:

Preserve Important Email Accounts

One often overlooked aspect of computer backup is saving important email accounts and their associated data. Email platforms such as Microsoft Outlook store all emails, contacts, and calendar information locally on your computer. To ensure that these crucial elements are not lost, make sure to back up the corresponding email files found in specific directories.

For Microsoft Outlook, you can find PST files by navigating to “C:\Users\%Username%\Documents\Outlook Files\” directory. Make sure to include these files in your backup process.

5. Additional Data and Preferences:

Consider any other data or preferences that you would like to back up. This might include browser bookmarks, saved passwords, or software configuration files. These files are often stored in hidden directories, so make sure to enable the visibility of hidden files and folders in your operating system’s settings.

Once you have identified and compiled the list of files and folders that you want to include in your backup, you can proceed with the next steps of securely transferring the data to your external hard drive.

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