Thumb Drive for Regular Backups

"Thumb drives," also known as "flash drives," are very inexpensive and plug into any available USB port on your computer. They're very small, about the size of a mini-Bic lighter. I don't have a lot of important files to back up, but I learned that frequent backups matter. During last July's heatwave, my old hard drive was fried.


How I do it:

  • I have the "up side" of my thumb drive marked, so it's easy to insert it correctly. When the box pops up asking what to do since there are a variety of files stored on the same drive, I choose "take no action" and click "okay."
  • I navigate to my main documents folder and highlight the files and/or folders I know I've worked with since the last backup. I also periodically back up the whole document folder.
  • I copy these highlighted files and navigate to my "F" drive, which is my thumb drive.
  • If I'm doing a regular backup, I simply paste the files and folders I just copied. If a box pops up asking if I want to replace previous versions I've already got stored on the drive, I always choose "yes to all."
  • If I'm doing a "deep backup," I highlight and delete everything from the thumb drive before copying and pasting my files to it.

What I back up:


  • The entire My Documents folder from my computer's main drive. (This drive will be called "local hard drive," and will most likely be labeled "C".
  • My Inbox from my Microsoft Outlook program.
  • My email contacts from my Outlook program.
  • My Outlook calendar.
  • My Internet Explorer Favorites folder.

There you have it. The quick-and-easy outline for backing up your important files to a thumb drive! Please let me know if you don't know how to back up your email or internet favorites. I'll try to explain it.

Source: Things I've learned along the way.

By Lelia Jo Cordell from Springfield, OH

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November 17, 20110 found this helpful

I just did this a few weeks ago. I was getting a new computer and my grandson was transferring things from my old one to my new one. For some reason all my pictures did not get transferred.


Am I ever glad I used the thumb drive to back them up. I wish I would have done it with my bookmarks too but I didn't. I lost those because he already had cleared the computer when I thought of it.

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November 17, 20110 found this helpful

Apparently none of you have live Mail because if you didn't save your saved folders you lost them in your old system. I found that I had to save those emails or they were gone with the system. You have to copy and paste them to notepad on the older versions of windows 7 and on the new one I can just save the email to my documents folder.

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November 17, 20110 found this helpful

Sigh. Ya live and learn.
Fuzzytufts, I always use my "import and export files" wizard in Outlook. The file extension is .pst, a personal folder file.


I couldn't save my sent items and didn't know to save calendar info before my system crash, but kept my inbox and contacts backed up. btw, what's "live mail?" Apparently I'm not advanced enough to know that term.

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November 17, 20110 found this helpful

You can get key chain thumb drives that are inexpensive too and there are some really cute ones like these kitty paws. :-)

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November 17, 20110 found this helpful

Good ideas, but why archive your email on your vulnerable PC? Use yahoo, gmail, etc. to archive your email (for feee) and let them do the work. If anything happens to your PC, you can always read it, store it, save it, whatever from any internet connection...


Do you have to have all of your email stored on your local storage? Just read it from the web and save locally only what you think you might need and save just that (or as a backup email it to a private 2nd free email account if you are paranoid). Forget MS Outlook. Use the Cloud Luke.

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November 21, 20110 found this helpful

Jaxinman... I remove the thumb drive and can take it anywhere. My issue is, I access my computer with a screen-reading software that just isn't available on other computers. Deeli, I wish my thumb drive were that cute - mine is strictly functional, lol!

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Computers MaintenanceNovember 16, 2011
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