How to Backup Computer Files to an External Hard Drive

Here is an advanced tutorial on how to back up computer files to an external hard drive. Many people don’t realize that this can help them in the future if they ever have to recover a file or two.

Some people think it’s not safe to back up such files to a hard drive. Some of them make the mistake of letting their computer die and then trying to get it backed up to an external hard drive. This could be a huge mistake, as hard drives have become quite durable and easily recoverable.

Importance of Backups

Some people don’t realize that the only way to back up a file to a hard drive is to copy it to a flash drive and transfer it to the computer through USB or FireWire. If the person is using a computer that is still working, they need to back up the file before copying it to the hard drive.

This step is so important because you need to be able to back up any kind of information that you may have on your computer. If the computer dies, they can get it back easily and quickly if they know how to do it properly.

What is even more interesting is that the first backup may not have been complete. Many people do not realize that computers are “auto-save” devices.


When you shut down your computer, it will save every single thing on your computer to the “AutoSave” folder. The problem is that the computer cannot find the “Backup” folder and the “AutoSave” folder will become unreadable.

Backup Computer Files

That is good news! You can turn off automatic saving of files to “AutoSave” and you can do this easily by right-clicking on your computer icon or hard drive and choosing “properties.”

This will open the “Properties” window where you can click on the “Edit” button for your “Today’s Shortcut” button. This will allow you to choose what folders you want your computer to automatically backup to and what ones it should not.

Backup Folder

Now, if you have not backed up the desktop folder, go ahead and open that folder and copy the file there. You can also create a new folder in that desktop folder that is called “Backup” and copy that file to that folder.

When you do this, be sure to back everything up. It’s a lot easier to go back and take a look at what you’ve copied if you want to go back a bit and try to read the file before you save it.

If you are going to copy the file to an external hard drive, don’t forget to burn the disk to CD’s first. Then, once you have copied the file, put the CD in your computer and start the computer.

Don’t overlook the importance of backing up files. This can help you if you ever have to recover any files that you don’t want anyone else to see.

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