How Do I Backup My Computer – 3 Ways To Backup

How Do I Backup My Computer ? This is a very common asked by so many of my clients. There are dozens of ways to backup your computer and in this article I’m going to show you how to perform 3 of them. And they are…..

1. Backing up to CD or DVD.
2. Backing up to an external hard drive.
3. Backing up to secure online storage.

All 3 of these methods are not free, however they won’t “break the bank” either.

CD’s and DVD’s are very cheap (sometimes free), external hard drives can be found for less than $100 now and online backups are only about $50/year.

Not all backup methods are created equal. I’ll give you the pro’s and con’s for each one of them.

Why You Need To Backup Your Computer

Currently, hard drives in desktops or laptops have a limited lifespan and WILL fail after 2-3 years (sometimes earlier than that). When your hard drive fails there is a pretty good chance all your data will be unretrievable.

Hard drive failure isn’t the only reason to backup your computer, other data disasters can happen such as:

* fire
* flood
* theft
* accidental file modification
* accidental or intetentional file deletions

Those are just a few of the ways you can lose all your documents, pictures, music and so on.

Backup Your Computer To CD or DVD

Backing up to CD or DVD involves copying data such as your pictures to a blank CD or DVD disc.


* CD or DVD burner drive. Most computers that were made in the last 5 years usually have at least a CD burner. DVD burners are very affordable (some are as cheap as $40.00).
* Blank CD’s – Holds 700 Megabytes
* Single Layer DVD’s – 4.4 Gigabytes
* Dual Layer DVD’s – 8.5 Gigabytes


* It’s cheap. CD’s and DVD’s cost almost nothing these days. Burners are very affordable as well.
* It’s very easy to burn a few files or folders.
* Backups are small and portable.
* Backups are safely accessable for 5 years.


* It’s not automatic.
* Disc’s are easily scratched and may become unreadable if not taken care of properly.
* Succeptable to fire, flood, theft and damage.
* Large backups can take an hour or more.

How to burn a file or folder (easily):

1. Insert a blank CD or DVD into your burner.
2. Right click a file, folder or group of files and folders then select “Send To” and choose your CD DVD RW drive.
3. A prompt will pop up asking you to give the disc a name. Give it name and click Next.
4. Windows will now format the disc and begin burning it.
5. Eject the disc to complete the burning process.
6. Congratulations! You’ve just burned data to a disc. You may continue to add data to the disc until it’s full (see disc limits above).

Backup Your Computer To An External Hard Drive

Backing up your computer to an external USB hard drive is one of the most popular ways to backup these days. Simply purchase an external USB hard drive, plug it into a USB port on your computer and boom…instant storage!

There are 2 types of external USB hard drives. One drive requires an AC adapter and the other does not (it’s simply powered by the USB cable). Drives that require an AC adapter are usually larger and faster.


* 1 external USB hard drive.
* 1 USB cable.
* 1 USB 2.0 port on your computer.
* AC Adapter if the hard drive came with one.

How to install your external USB drive:

1. Plugin the USB cable to the back of the external hard drive.
2. Plugin the other end of the USB cable to an open USB 2.0 port on your computer.
3. If necessary plugin the AC adapter to a power strip and connect the other end to the external hard drive.
4. If there is an ON/OFF switch make sure it’s set to the ON position.
5. You may now hear your computer make some “found new device” sounds and you’ll see some balloon popups saying that your computer is installing a new device.
6. After the balloon messages go away (about 30-60 seconds) open your “My Computer” in Windows XP or “Computer” in Windows Vista and you should see your external hard drive. It’s most likely labeled D: or E: but can be any drive letter.

How to backup files and folders to your external USB hard drive:

1. Now it’s time to perform our first backup. Please keep in mind that there are many ways to backup data to your external hard drive and I’m going to show you one of the easiest ones.
2. Right Click any file or folder and select “Send To”, then choose your external hard drive. Windows will now copy that file or folder to your external hard drive.
3. Simple huh! Just remember to backup your important files and folders often. If you’re asked to overwrite backed up files and folders just say yes or “copy and replace”.


* You can backup lots and lots of files.
* External hard drives are portable.
* Very easy to install and use.
* 1 time fee.


* It’s not automatic.
* Prone to hard drive failure…it’s just a hard drive after all.
* Often infected by USB worms if you “pass it around”.
* Susceptible to fire, flood, theft and damage.

Backup Your Computer To Online Storage

Backing up your computer online is the latest (and greatest) form of personal backup. Let’s go over all the pros and cons first.


* Automatic Backups ensure you’ll never have to remember to do that backup. Everytime you add a new file to your computer, Carbonite (my online backup software), will immediately back it up.
* All files are encrypted. Only you can access, download and read your files.
* Unlimited space. Backup as much as you want!
* Backups are “off site”. You’ll never have to worry about fire, floods, theft, damage and file deletions.
* Does not require any expensive equipment.
* It’s cheap, at only $49.99 per year for unlimited secure storage!
* Files will have little green dots on them so you know they are backed up.


* requires a broadband internet connection

How to get started with Carbonite Online Backup:

1. Go to
2. Look over to the right and you’ll see “Start Your Risk-Free Trial”.
3. Enter your email address and any password you’d like to use (twice).
4. Click “Start Your Free Trial”.
5. Enter how you heard about Carbonite.
6. Click the “Install Now” Button.
7. Click Run.
8. Click Run again.
9. Click the OK button to refresh your desktop.
10. Click Next on the Welcome To Carbonite window.
11. Click Next again to have Carbonite backup your documents folder (this folder contains documents, pictures, music and videos) and desktop.
12. Click Next 2 more times and then click the done button.
13. Now you’ll notice a little yellow lock in your system tray. The yellow lock indicates that Carbonite is backing up your “My documents” folder and Desktop. Once the backup is complete that lock will turn green.

Note: Your first backup can take days (or even weeks) depending on how many files you are backing up. After that initial backup future backups will only take a few minutes.

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