It doesn’t matter who you are; everyone struggles with backing up their data on a regular basis. Some are better at it than others, but it is rarely convenient. You can use a third party to back up your data, or you can do it manually, which I’ll show you how hereafter.
Before you begin, you will need the correct size of external drive to copy your data. Go to your computer and open File Explorer. Once it opens, go to the left and click “This PC” from the list. In the middle pane, you’ll see all of your drives. We are concerned mostly with your “Local Disk (C:)” drive. Look at the capacity of your drive and then how much has been used. Your external drive should have at least this much room for your data. I recommend you purchase an external drive that will hold the same amount as the full capacity of your “Local Disk (C:)” drive.
Just as a reference, I have purchased a 1 Terabyte external drives for under $60, making this very economical to do. Once you have your external drive ready, plug it into one of your USB ports on your computer.
Now, click the Start button and then open Settings. Next, click “Personalization.” When the page opens, to the left, click “Themes.” Scroll down in the middle or it may be displayed to the right, click the link: “Desktop icon settings.” When the box opens, checkmark “User’s Files” and then click “OK” to save and close the box. You can also close all your open windows too.
Go to your desktop and you should be able to find a new folder that is the name of your computer or your user name. Double-click to open this folder and when it opens, you will see many folders.
Highlight all of these folders by clicking one of them (just highlight, don’t open) and then press “Ctrl + A” and it will highlight all of the folders. Next, press “Ctrl + C” and it will copy your data.
Next, go to the left and click the listing of your external drive. It should be listed under “This PC.” In the middle, you will want to create a new folder to put the copy of your date. At the top, click “New Folder” and then name your new folder something like: “HP backup 01-01-2018.”
Once you have created your new folder on your external drive, open your new folder and then press “Ctrl + V” to paste your data. You should see a progress window open as it begins to copy your data to your external drive. When it finishes, the window will close.
There are some considerations to be aware of as you do this. If you have saved any data in your “Local Disk (C:)” folder, you will need to open that and copy and paste it to your backup folder on your external drive.
If you have more than one drive installed in your computer, this drive will also need to be copied to your backup folder. You may need a larger external drive if this is the case.
Also, you may have noticed that there is a “Favorites” folder that was copied. These favorites are from Internet Explorer, not Microsoft Edge. Next week, I’ll cover importing and exporting favorites from the most popular browsers.
Be certain to store your backup in a safe place where it cannot be stolen or destroyed.
For more than 15 years, Scott Lindsay has helped thousands of people better their skills, publishing more than 500 articles about Apple and Microsoft software, the computer and the Internet. You can reach Scott for comments or questions at ScottLindsay@live.com.