Back Up Your External Storage Drives

If you store files you care about on an external drive, make sure that you have a backup of that drive.

People who work with large files or small internal hard drives often end up storing some of their data on external hard drives. Doing that allows you to extend your storage space, but it also means you have to take an extra step to backup your data.

If you use Time Machine to backup your computer’s hard drive, it will not backup your external drive. Other backup solutions may backup external drives–but don’t take it for granted, find out for sure.

If your regular backup solution does not backup your external drive, you can backup your external drive manually. That means that you plug both drives into your computer and do a manual copy from one to the other. If you do this, you have to stay vigilant to make sure you are copying in the right direction so that you don’t inadvertently copy your older files over your newer ones. Note the We recommend:

  • Use a backup drive exclusively for the purpose of backing up the external drive.
  • Choose a backup drive that is at least twice the capacity of the data you intend to store on the external drive. If you think you will be using the entire external drive, get a backup drive that is twice as large.
  • Create a “Backup” folder on the backup drive in which you will place your backup data–this will help avoid confusion about which drive is your backup.
  • Each time you backup, create a dated backup folder within the general “Backup” folder.
  • Keep at least one older and one current backup on the backup drive at all times. You don’t want to end up in the situation where your external storage drive dies in the middle of a backup and your backup drive has no data on it.
  • Keep your backup drive in a secure, safe location.