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External storage refers to any data storage format that isn’t permanently fixed inside your computer, for example, hardware such as Zip or flash drives, CDs, or even a Web service.

 

Types of external storage

Whether you use the Windows XP Backup utility or some other backup software, you'll need a way to store your backup copies.

If you can, use a storage system that is portable; one of the best ways to protect your backups is to store them in a different location than your computer. The following are some storage devices and locations to consider.

Storage Type What It Is Pros Cons

External Hard drives

An external hard drive is a hard drive which attaches to a USB port, Firewire or eSATA port on the outside of a computer. External hard drives are extremely useful for backing up computers and for moving data between computers and can store large amounts of data.

 

• Includes backup software

• Range of storage options

• Portable

• The most cost effective form of backup

• Can store over 1 Terrabyte of data (1000+ gigabytes)

• You must invest in the hardware and in some cases automated backup software.

• Highest initial investment of backup types dicussed.

CD-RW*

*You need a CD-RW drive to burn files onto CDs.

A CD-RW is a compact disc onto which you can burn information if you have a CD-RW drive. (RW stands for "read-write.")

• Many newer computers come with a built in CD-RW drive

• CD-RW discs can hold up to 700MB

• Portable

• CD-RW discs can be used over again

• Discs are relatively inexpensive

• You need to buy a CD-RW drive if your computer doesn't come with one

• It’s possible to accidentally write over data on your CD-RW disc and lose your backup files

• Older CD players cannot read CD-RW discs

DVD-RW*

*You need a DVD-RW drive to burn files onto DVDs.

A DVD-RW is a DVD onto which you can burn information if you have a DVD-RW drive. (RW stands for "read-write.")

• Many newer computers come with a built in DVD-RW drive

• DVD burners double as CD burners, offering more flexibility

• One disc stores 4.7 gigabytes of information; Double Lyer DVD's can store up to 8.5 gibabytes of data

• Portable

• DVD-RW discs can be used over again

• Discs are relatively inexpensive

• You need to buy a DVD-RW drive if your computer doesn't come with one

• The drive might not come with backup software

• It’s possible to accidentally write over data on your DVD-RW disc and lose your backup files

USB flash drive

A USB flash drive is like a small hard drive, about 2-3 inches long, that plugs into your computer through a USB port. You can download information onto it for storage.

• Portable

• Can hold up to 32 gigabytes of data

• Files can be saved, modified, or deleted as often as you want

• Prices start relatively low as hardware prices go

• USB flash drives, because of their size, are easy to misplace

Online backup and storage

An online storage service lets you save files online. If you have Internet access, you can get your files from the online storage site whenever you need them.

• Stores your information out of the house or office

• Includes download and backup software

• Offers the potential for a larger amount of storage space than some other backup devices or locations

• If the company's servers fail, you might not be able to access your files

• If the company is hacked, your information could be stolen

• If the company goes out of business, you lose your backup resource

Tip

 

Tip:  For backup on the go, look into the mini USB flash drives with big capacity that can fit on a key chain, usually less than $29.00.


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