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External Disk Drives - How to Use External Disk Drives For Computer Backup

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External disc drives are an affordable way to add hard drive capacity to any computer. Though they’re good for storing media and other large files, one of the most useful functions of these drives is to serve as backup for the primary hard drive.

It’s easy to utilize an external disk drive as a tool for backup. There are many options that can save time and eliminate the worry of losing important documents, paid downloads, and other important files.

Disk Imaging
One of the best and most reliable forms of backup is disk imaging, also called disk cloning. The process is akin to taking a snapshot or photocopy of an entire drive and storing it on another drive. External disk drives are great for this, especially since many are now available in large capacities like 500GB or 1TB and can store a great deal of information.

Disk imaging requires some kind of program to perform the cloning and copying processes. Free programs like EASUS Disk Copy and Clonezilla come as downloads that are then burned to CD to create a bootable disk. The user can then boot from this disk, run the program, and copy the entire hard drive of any computer to a partition on an external hard drive. This ensures that every file on the primary drive is backed up, so there is no risk of loss when files are restored from the backup.

Windows Backup
Utilizing external disk drives with the Windows backup utility can save a lot of hassle. With this tool, users can tell Windows what files to back up, where to put them, and how often to perform the backup. Having an external drive on which to store these backed up files means that they will be accessible even if the primary hard drive suffers damage or failure. And with the ability to schedule routine backups, there will always be copies of the most recent versions of these files.

Drive Docks
Internal drives can be turned into external disk drives in a pinch. All that is needed is an external drive dock. These devices connect via USB and allow an internal hard drive to be “docked” and accessed as if it were part of the computer. This is useful when files from an old drive need to be transferred to a new one, or when large amounts of data need to be moved from machine to machine. Having a drive dock can also be handy when an emergency backup is needed, as in the case of a failing primary drive.

Other Drive Types
External disk drives aren’t limited to hard drives. CD, DVD, and even floppy disk drives can all be purchased as external computer add-ons. CD and DVD drives in particular are helpful when only a few files need backing up, and can also aid in retrieving files from old machines that may not have internal media drives. These external disk drives are often USB powered and are easy to transport, making them ideal for small backup jobs in an office environment or travel situation.

Using external disk drives for backup is easy and practical. A reliable external drive can reduce or eliminate he risk of file loss and make restoring from a backup quick and painless.

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