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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  • My Dad taught me to always have an external hard drive for back-up. Now we need one for our solo business too. This could be awesome if we could win. Thanks.

  • Great post! With so much of our lives saved electronically these days, we often forget that it can be gone in a second.

  • after my mother-in-laws house caught fire and she lost everything ive decided its not a bad idea to back all my files and nfo up. would love to win this

  • This is a very important thing to have. You don’t want to wait to back things up until you have a problem. I would hate to loose all our family pictures.


  • I was already a picture nut with my family pics, now I’ve started a little business on the side for pocket money. I have all those pictures too. I don’t have enough space anymore. It’d be great to win! Thanks TECH Mommy!

  • External hardrives are a wonderful investment. I have one that I use for all of my work documents and would love to have another for photos, ect. as I travel with my work document drive.

    Thanks for offering this giveaway!

  • This is such a great idea! I learned my lesson a bit too late. My computer crashed on me last year and I lost almost all of the newborn pics of my son. I was devastated! I back up to several discs now so I would love the ease of an external drive!

  • Backing up my computer is one of those things that is always on the back of my mind to get done someday. I know how important it is. However, it seems I always have to pass the external hard drives up when I see them at the store. Maybe now I can finally back that thing up!

  • Oh winning this would help me out sooooo much!! I’m a photogropher and my hard drive just crashed and I lost over 15,000 pictures!!! I just want to cry!! I sold my laptop (where all of the pictures were originally) and had to move them to my hard drive until I got my new pc set up. When I went to transfer everything back over, it crashed! I just want to cry thinking about it!! Pick me Please!!!

  • Oh my gosh!! I NEED one of these. My desktop has major major problems and I need to backup my photos and music so I can fix the stupid computer.

  • this would be awesome, especiallly if my family & i were to move anytime soon. we don’t have one, but need one. it is hard being part of the military, as an Army wife, school work & other documents that need saved.

  • I would like to finally have a way of not loosing all the family photos I take of the kids every year. It seams like everytime we have a bad storm my computer goes out and I loose them. Thanks for offering this giveaway.

  • I would be devastated if i lost all the pictures of my daughter!! they are EVERYTHING to me! so backing things up is SOO very important!! 🙂

  • I nearly lost all the photos of my babies when my computer got a virus. Safe and reliable back-up is so important to protect those precious memories!

  • I am looking to buy a hard drive to back up our media center at home (family photos, movies, shows, etc). It would be great to win one!

  • Thank you for the opportunity to win…just discussing with my husband that we need to get an external backup…would hate to loose all that music and pictures, etc.

  • I really like these products. I had a different brand of hard drive and lost everything. I use this brand for my photography business. I have a passport like this for transferring my desk computer files to home to allow me to do my job from both places. It is a great product!

  • I have been wanting to buy this forever. I am worried about losing all of the pictures of my kids on the computer. I would love to win this.

  • I homeschool and keep all my records on the computer. My hubby is the volunteer treasurer for our church. This would be SOOOO handy to have! 🙂

  • I had my computer crash a few months ago…and thankfully my computer guy was able to restore all of my pictures. Now I just have my fingers crossed until I can afford to buy on…or win one if I’m lucky!

  • As a fourth year college student this hard drive would help me TONS!!! With storing all my work, and projects since my major requires me to use AutoCad those files can get pretty big! =| I hope I win! <3

  • An external hard drive is so key to have – they should be bundled with your computer purchase! It’s so critical to back up all of our pictures, documents, files, EVERYTHING on one. If anything ever happened to my computer, it would be a lifesaver!

  • Just bought one because I have already had my hard drive crash once. Would love to win another so we can make sure everything is backed up.