How To Backup Your Computer {WD Passport Review/Giveaway}

I know you’ve heard me say it over and over again.  You KNOW you have to backup your computer.  Hardware fails every single day, and if you don’t have a plan in place to backup your computer you are just asking to lose all of your pictures/videos/documents etc!  I prefer backing up to an external hard drive.  I currently use a Western Digital Passport.  Online backups (to me) take too long, and I don’t like the idea that I have to be online to restore.  What if my internet is down when I need to restore my files?  What if something gets corrupted in the transfer?  I just prefer to have my backups with me at all times.  Here are some of my “best practices” for having a good backup at all times.

Do NOT leave your external hard drive plugged into your computer at all times, or plugged into power at all times.  Typically an external hard drive has the same kinds of parts as your internal hard drive.  It’s just in a nice plastic casing to protect it.  Would you leave your PC turned on ALL the time, even when you are sleeping?  There is a reason that PC’s have a sleep or hibernate setting.  You want to rest your hard drive, and the rest of the pieces of your computer from time to time.  You wouldn’t leave your car running at all times either, right?  So it is with an external hard drive.  If it is constantly plugged in, it is constantly spinning the disk inside.  that takes power and causes wear and tear on the internal parts.  An external hard drive running in this manner will fail sooner than later.  Best practice is to plug in the hard drive during the backup.  When the backup is complete then unplug and store it in a safe place.

Offsite backups.  Companies do this, and you may not have to be super crazy about it, since it’s just your personal data, but a good idea is to have your backup stored in a place that can’t be damaged when your home gets damaged.  Two good places for this is to either store your backup at a friends house, or in your car.  If you are getting out of the house during a fire, you may not remember to grab your hard drive.  So to save you the hassle, backup to two different hard drives.  Store one near your computer for easy file retrievals (say you accidentally deleted that file you’ve been working on for months, luckily your backup is there to save you), and store the other one in the car or at your friend’s house.

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the best practices for backing up your computer!

Western Digital was kind enough to give me an external hard driveto use with my review.  It’s ultra portable, and can hold up to a TB of data (that’s 1,000 GB).  My backup transferred to the hard drive lickity split and it’s a sleek black and blends in nicely with my desktop.  I hardly know it’s there!  They also offered to give two of my readers a 500 GB PassportTo enter to win the external hard drive simply leave a comment on this post.  As always, only one entry per person.  Giveaway will end on Sunday November 21st.  Again there will be 2 winners!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.



About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website


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  • I Just recently experienced a hardware problem with my children’s desktop. Unfortunately their files and pictures were not backed up. About 2 yrs worth of unrecoverable irreplaceable information. Ty for sharing this information I look forward to reading more tomorrow and would absolutely love to be a winner in this giveaway!

  • I learned the hard way a few years ago to always back your information up.

    My hard drive is almost full, a new one would be great!

  • I would love to win this! I have thousands of pictures and music files that I would be so upset to lose if my computer crashes!

  • won’t let me post but
    I would love this! I’d use it for pictures and music that I would lose if my computer crashed!

  • I would love to have this!! I have 3 boys 16 12 and 6 and time is flying by! I have so many memories on my computer.

  • I know about this all too well. last year my computer crashed and lost over 500 pics of my son. Some of which I do not have printed. They were pics of his first 3 years and that I will never be able to replace along with other family pics and documents. I ahev planned on buying an external hard drive but every time I go to make that purchase something always takes precedence. I guess I just need to committ as opposed to letting other things tkae the place of me buying this so I dont lose everything again.

    • I can feel your pain!!!! so frustrating and heartbreaking….the same thing happened to me…but like you say..something more “important” always requires the extra money first…Good luck!

  • I really need this! My cousin’s computer just died and she lost the first 2 years of her’s son’s photos, I would be horrified if that happened to me.

  • Excellent article…I am a picture NUT….and i STILL have not learned my lesson…I lost 7,500 pictures on my last computer, and NOW have 13,000 on my current laptop…that I just don’t want to lose…I do photography on the side so you think I’d just get one already!!! I also have my own business and ALL of my records are on there as well….Boy could I use this win! <3

  • My son & I were just talking about getting him an external hard drive for Christmas. He’s in college taking Computer networking course, & this would be an awesome gift for him!

  • I would love to have one since I have scrapbooking on my computer. Right now I just hope everyday that it doesn’t crash on me. Thanks!!

  • This is one of my biggest nightmares! There is no way I could afford to replace my computer right now, and the thought of losing all those precious pictures would be devastating. I would LOVE to have the piece of mind knowing everything is backed up. Pretty Please!

  • This would be a well deserved gift for myself. I have lost 2-3 CD’s of pictures of my two older children that are in college. Now I have my tot and would love to have that security of knowing that I have another place to hold what is close to my heart.
    Thanks for the chance to win this!

  • I LOVE these…they are so helpful for pictures, documents, etc! We back up all of our pictures on one and keep it in a safe place so if anything was to happen to our computer, we will not lose the things that are important for us. I even scanned a copy of our lease agreement and school work onto one, so if the paper copy is lost, I can retrieve an extra copy. =)

  • Wow, so timely, I just had a near disaster with my laptop where all my photos etc are stored! I love the information I get from your site. It is tough for non-techies like me to keep up, but even more so now that I am a stay at home Mom – I miss my IT Dept at my old job lol! I have been trying to determine a good way to back everything up!!!

  • I already had one computer to fail on me and i lost everything on it! Just didnt have the money to by a back up. And now we are only left with 1 computer.So this would be so great to have to save what we do have left on this computer to it.

  • Such a great reminder. Our family computer has one, but right now I don’t have any back up for my personal computer stuff… this would be very helpful!

  • I have tens of thousands of pictures I don’t want to lose on my laptop. Have burned some to cd, but know they don’t always hold up especially when young children throw them and drop toys on them! Really need this!!!

  • My husband says the same thing, that everything needs to be backed up externallly. Hope to win this great giveaway.

  • I would love to have one of these. I have a dead PC that is being used as a glorified door stop till I get the funds to salvage years of family photos from it. A back-up would have saved me a lot of headaches.

  • We need one of these badly. We seem to routinely lose data for one reason or another. Now, we’re doing redundant backups and storing offline all our photos.

  • My father in law recently passed away and while looking for photos of him for the service I was reminded of how important pictures our are and how I need to get on it and get an external hard drive for my pictures! I hope I win the hard drive so I can put all my pictures in one place and make sure they are safe and readily accessible. Thanks, Dayna

  • My fiances laptop crashes all the time…he has too much music that he says are for memories and of course family photos…..i also would be thankful for one to store my papers and coursework.thanks for the giveaway

  • I could definitely use a device like this to store all my photos to keep them safe. Especially when we have to evacuate during hurricanes

  • Boy could my family use this! My husband is forever messing with our computers and trying to lose all of our info/pictures and he has nearly fried the one we have and it is old to begin with.

  • This is an awesome giveaway!! We have an external hard drive that is almost full and it would be wonderful not to have to buy another one! Thank you!!

  • Wow!! what a great giveaway!
    We could really use this for all my pictures and my customer information. I’m just starting out in Mary Kay and would hate to lose all my customer info and order histories!!