Hard drive backup on the go

13 Jul 2010
Posted by Laptop Junction

We all love the convenience of having our laptops with us when on trips, trekking or holiday / vacation - with wireless broadband we can stay connected with the world, use e-mail, contact friends through Facebook, and whatever else we want to use our laptops for. Most people don't think of and plan for the consequences of a hard disk failure. Hard drive failure in a laptop is quite a rare occurrence, but when it does happen, the consequences can be catastrophic, especially if you're far off the beaten track. Apart from hard disk failure, other possibilities are that your laptop could be lost, stolen or damaged. Any of these events could mean you lose all the data from your laptop. Even worse, if you have any confidential data, it could fall into other people's hands. It's advisable to have a plan to backup your data regularly. A few light weight options for making backups on the go.

Hard disk backups on the go - bulk backups

There are three main options for backing up a laptop's hard drive. A good way is to use an external hard drive, which plugs into a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port on your laptop. Then all you have to do is copy all data (or important data) from your laptop's hard drive to the external one. If anything happens to your laptop, the external hard drive can be connected to another computer and the data is available. This is probably not the best option if you are travelling. External hard drives mean extra space and weight, and most of them require their own power supply, which you might not have access to if you are on the road.

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Portable hard drive backups

A better option for laptops on the go is to use a USB flash drive. These are very small and light, and can be plugged into a USB port, and you can copy data over the same as with an external hard drive. USB flash drives are available in capacities up to 16 GB. Copying data over to them is slower than using an external hard drive, but the convenience of extremely compact size and light weight far outweigh the speed disadvantage, at least for people on the move. Also with the new USB 3.0 SuperSpeed standard, this option can allow backups upto 3 - 5 times faster than USB 2.0. This means less waiting and less battery power used for completing the backup. Have a look at cheap reliable flash drives at LaptopsForLess.com.


Online backups over the internet

There are also online backup services, which can be a good option because you can always retrieve your data if your laptop and/or external drive or flash drive is lost, damaged or stolen. There is normally provision for file encryption and scheduling incremental backups. However, online backup is the slowest of all possible backup methods. One backup service worth checking out is Mozy - they offer a free service for up to 2GB of data, and you get unlimited storage for $4.95 a month.Read about Mozy Pro in Online backups on the go.

Sync software - everyday repeating backups

There is a better option than just copying and pasting data from your internal hard drive to an external drive or flash drive. Sync software makes the process much easier. Most sync software enables you to define a relationship between a folder on your internal hard drive and a folder on your external drive. Then keeping the two in sync is as simple as one mouse click. There are several good free sync software solutions available - just search Google for 'sync software'.

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Examples of portable external USB 2.0 hard disks

A few examples of USB2.0  harddisks for backups on the go. In case you require more speed, have a look at how to upgrade your laptop or notebook to USB 3.0 SuperSpeed.