know you MUST backup.
How do you know if an external hard drive backup
is a good idea. How do you set it up? Read on.
can back up your computer
data using a simple hard drive that connects to your
computer with a USB drive.
This is an inexpensive option that requires that you either
- know enough
to schedule automatic backups to the drive, or
data there manually.
Those who rely on themselves to remember often find
to do it regularly, and that the data may not have been backed
up when they need it.
You need to store this backup at a different location. In the event of
a flood, fire, or theft, your backup could be lost if it is in the same
place as your computer.
This page contains:
Terms and specs for
external hard drives.
Check out our backup checklist to
see if this approach meets your need.
Online Backup can be
And before you take this route, keep in mind that online
backup is usually less complicated, more reliable,
automatically stores the data in a safe place, and may
expensive, (especially if you have less
then 2 GB to protect). But since the online backup runs
every day, and you may forget something for your manual, hard drive
system, its best value can be that you will have the data backed up
when you need it.
More on online backup is here.
Any external hard drive with a USB connection will work. Some external
drive units can use other conections, like Firewire or eSATA,
but make sure your computer has this kind of connector before you start
down this road.
(You can also add these new connectors to your computer by buying a
card that installs in the computer)
- NAS, RAID,
and the single drive
This is your biggest choice. Get an external drive unit that includes
What is RAID?
A single, external hard drive can
fail. A RAID unit has two hard drives, both
with your data. One can die and you still are covered.is a technology that stores
your data on two or more hard
drives, so that if one fails, your data is still on the
other. The failed drive can be replaced. Very nice. Very safe.
What is NAS?
A "NAS" unit sometimes has RAID,
sometimes not. NAS (Network Attached Storage) means that it can
be reached by any
computer in a network, not just from the computer it is pluged into.
What is "One Touch Backup"
This is a featue on
some external hard drives.
the name implies, a backup is activated when you touch a button on the
outside of the device. Drives can be scheduled for regular
backups, as long as the drive is
still connected to the computer. Mutltiple drives can be
synchronised. These drives can some restores of data a little
A glossary of other specifications for external hard drives is below.
External drive units with a
single drive tend to cost between $80. and
External drive units with
RAID are available between $200 and $300,
with some that feature huge amounts of space and features valuable to
businesses will cost $1000 and up.
simplest way to set up the drive is with a USB connector, that will be
included with the drive when youy buy it, if you buy a USB drive.
you connect it to your computer, the computer will detect it is there
and show it in Windows Explore or in My Computer as a new drive. Now
you can drag and drop files to and from it, and can set this drive as a
destination for other programs you run, such as a backup or online
Remember that when you disconnect it you
must do so by firsst turning off the connection to your computer, by
clcking onthe icon in the bottom right corner of your screen (i.e. the
systaem tray). From there, you can turn off the drive. You will see it
listed by manufacturer and model.
is the most reliable backup. Costs
something each month, but
it may be only $10 (unless you have a server, which is more complex and
will cost more).
It may take
two to three years to spend the same amount for online backup
that you would spend buying hardware and setting up local
backup inside your network.
The data protection is better with online backup from a major supplier.
Lower support costs:
Troubleshooting is needed much less
often with online backup. (It never is zero. This is software, after
all. Any software can get corrupted. )
It is greener.
Online backup only uses the electricity your computer uses anyway when
it is on.
An external hard drive uses electricity, and the manufacturing process
uses lots of energy, and all electronic devices are damaging to the environment.
Free online backup?
You can get free online backup for up to two GB
per computer from Mozy. Great deal.
for help in selecting one.
For more external hard drive parameters to consider, click here.