How To Backup Your Computer (3 Simple Ways)

Worry about data loss and need to backup your computer? Check these methods to learn how to backup computer to external hard drive, flash drive, iCloud, OneDrive, and Google Drive.

Besides videos and pictures of me and my family members, my computer has a lot of important information about my work, especially ID and passwords. When my computer got affected by ransomware, I lost everything.

My terrible mistake was not to back up my computer because I never thought of this ransomware attack. Another mistake was not listening to my friend’s advice; they suggested to me, again and again, to back up my PC, but I didn’t listen, and I needed to be more active, which cost me thousands of dollars.

However, the lesson was learned, and now I backup my computer safely in multiple locations, including offline and cloud. Here, I will share how to properly backup the computer, including an external hard drive, per drive, OneDrive, iCloud, Dropbox, and Google Drive.

What is a Computer Backup?

Computer backup is copying essential files or the whole computer drive by the drive and saving them to another offline device or cloud platform. Usually, bigger corporations create multiple copies of their computer for backup in different places because one of the backup files may get damaged along with the main computer.

Why Should You Backup Your Computer?

The main reason is data loss. If your computer has important files, data, and information and you worry about losing them, you need to backup your computer correctly. You can lose your computer data in various ways, including internal and external factors.

Viruses, malware, and ransomware are the main culprits for data loss. If your computer is affected by viruses, malware, or ransomware, your important files can be corrupted or vanished.

Another reason is hard drive crashes. I have experienced this type of damage and lost everything. No matter how new your computer is, your hard drive can die or crash anytime. Fire hazards, power outages, storms, floods, and accidental deletion cause data loss. To protect from all these reasons, you should backup your computer to at least 2 locations excluding the main hard drive.

What Makes a Good Backup? (Backup 3-2-1 rule)

According to Scott Hanselman, the best rule of thumb for computer backup is the Backup 3-2-1 rule. Here is a detailed explanation.

3 sets of copies

We usually make just 1 copy and backup it in another place. This doesn’t seem right. If the data is essential to you, you must make 3 copies.

2 different formats

Don’t create backup files in the same format. Make sure your backup files are in different formats to minimize risk. It could be a cloud + external drive, flash drive + hard drive, or cloud + DVD.

1 off-site backup

Don’t store all backup files in the same place. If your house catches fire, all backup files will be gone.

3 Ways to Back up Your Computer

Everybody thinks of Google Drive as a first step when it comes to backup computers or anything. However, there are other methods to back up your files and data. For example, flash drives and external drives are also excellent choices for offline backup. Here, I will share different methods to back up your computer correctly.

How To Backup Computer to External Hard Drive

How to Backup Computer to External Hard Drive

An external hard drive or portable HDD is a good choice for properly backing your computer. Once you copy/paste files to the external HDD and keep it in another place, no matter what happens to your main computer, you can always get files from the backup drive. Follow the steps below to backup your computer to an external hard drive.

Step 1: Get an external hard drive with connecting cable.

Step 2: Insert the hard drive into your computer.

Step 3: Check if it has enough space to save your files. Delete unnecessary files and folders.

Step 4: Scan the drive with Windows Security. Make sure your external drive is not affected by viruses.

Step 5: Go to “This PC” or your computer drives and open any drive you want to back up.

Step 6: Create a folder and give it a name related to the driver partition. So you can identify which folder is from which drive.

Step 7: Copy all the files into your newly created folder and make a zip file.

Step 8: Send this zip file to your external hard drive.

Step 9: Repeat this process to all drivers except the local disk.

Step 10: After transferring all files, open the external hard drive and make sure all zip files are there.

Step 11: Safely remove the hard drive and keep it in another location.

External Hard Drive Backup Pros and Cons


  • Offline backup.
  • No hacking risk.
  • Restore files even if the main computer is damaged.
  • Bigger storage.


  • Risk of losing the drive.
  • Virus or malware attacks.
  • Risk of physical damage to the drive.

How To Backup Computer to Flash or Pen Drive

How To Backup Computer to Flash Drive

A flash drive is a small data storage device with a USB interface. It works like an external hard drive with less size. A hard drive can contain 256GB, 512GB, or 1 TB of data, but a flash drive can usually contain 32GB to 512 GB.

Compared to a hard drive, a pen drive is lightweight and small. You can easily carry it in your pocket or bring it anywhere too. I have created one of the backup files in my pen drive. If you are a beginner and want to know how to back up a computer to a flash drive, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Insert your pen drive into your computer.

Step 2: Scan the flash drive using Windows Security or other antivirus.

Step 3: If it has insufficient space, format it or delete unnecessary files.

Step 4: Go to your hard drive and open any drive you want to back up.

Step 5: Create a folder and copy all necessary files.

Step 6: Create a zip file of this folder and send it to your pen drive.

Step 7: Repeat this process for all drives you want to back up.

How To Backup Computer to Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, or iCloud

How To Backup Computer to Cloud Storage

Compared to an external drive or flash drive, cloud storage is safe to back up your computer unless you forget your cloud storage password. A hard drive can be affected by viruses, but cloud storage is far more secure. If you want to backup your computer to the cloud, choose an easy cloud storage system like Google Drive. It is convenient and easy to use. Also, you can share your files with other Google Drive users. Here is how to backup computer to Google Drive.

Step 1: Go to and log in using your Gmail account information.

Step 2: Go to your computer or “This PC” and open any drive you want to backup.

Step 3: Create a folder and copy all necessary files into this folder.

Step 4: Make a zip file of this folder.

Step 5:

  • Go to Google Drive.
  • Click the “+ New” and “File Upload” options.
  • Upload the zip files one by one.

However, Google Drive offers only 15GB of space. So you can upload only important files under 15GB. If you have over 15GB of data, you can find another cloud storage or buy space on Google Drive.

Cloud Backup Pros and Cons


  • Don’t worry about viruses and other malicious programs.
  • You can access files from anywhere and anytime if you can log in.
  • Safe and secure.
  • Share files with anyone.
  • Restore files anytime.


  • Limited storage.
  • Risk of losing ID and password.
  • Risk of hacking.
  • Risk of accidental deletion.
  • Risk of account deletion for policy violation.

Also Read:


Every backup option has pros and cons, but you need to back up your computer in at least 2 places. I recommend backing up to an external hard drive or pen drive and cloud storage like Google Drive. So if one backup is lost, you can restore it from another option.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top