Just keep in mind that external hard drives can fail too, not just the ones inside your computer. So keep a copy on your computer as well as in your backup external hard drive.
Method 1 - Use the software that comes with your external hard drive.
- Pros - after the initial backup, it only backs up new or modified files. This saves storage space and is quicker. Can be set to backup at a time that you choose.
- Cons - There is often only one free component that you can use. The rest of the software prompts your to purchase it. Can get infected by viruses if you don't disconnect.
Method 2 - If you have Windows 10, use File History
- Pros - Once set up, it backs up every hour, by default and only backs up new or modified files. It also keeps different versions of your files that you've saved. This is similar to Apple's Time Machine.
- Cons - If you ever need to restore your files from File History, it adds a date-time stamp to the end of all your files, which looks a little ugly. Can get infected by viruses if you don't disconnect.
Method 3 - Use Backup and Restore (Windows 7) - (In Windows 7 and Windows 10)
- Pros - Iv'e never seen a virus get into this backup yet. Can schedule a time for it to back up.
- Cons - It copies everything, every time it backs up. So you have to periodically remove the earlier backups to stop your external hard drive from getting full. Can't easily go through your files and search them without using the software, since it saves everything into a single file.
Method 4 - use a batch file (Computer Champ's favourite easy method)
- Pros - No purchasing prompts, no date-time stamps, easy to go through your files and search them and only copies new or modified files.
- Cons - Just need to double click on the desktop shortcut to run backup when you need to. Can get infected by viruses if you don't disconnect. Needs to be set up by someone who can write batch files. If the external hard drive's letter changes, the backup wont work.
Method 5 - use the cloud (online backup)
- Pros - it does it automatically and your files can't be stolen or damaged and are often encrypted for security. Examples - OneDrive, DropBox, Norton Online Backup, iCloud for Windows, etc.
- Cons - Slow to backup and restore. If you have a lot of files, then you'll need to pay a monthly fee.
- Plug your external hard drive into a USB 3.0 port (It's blue inside) for faster transfer speed.
- Each time your backup has finished, you must disconnect your external hard drive, to ensure no viruses ever copy themselves to it.
- Yes you could drag and drop, or copy and paste, but that's tedious!
- If you're a Mac user, then Time Machine is the way to go.
- If you're a iPad or iPhone user, then turn on iCloud, or backup to your computer using iTunes.
- If you have an android tablet or phone, copy and paste to your computer or use Kies.
- I think methods 1, 2 or 3 are the best for most people, although I prefer using method 4 (batch file) and my son uses method 5 (drop box). Pick one, try it. Give it a go, mate. If your computer breaks, at least you'll be able to get your files and pictures back. Better safe then sorry. Be smart.