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Memory sticks are not quite sufficient for regular backups, but you can find step-by-step instructions to backup to any drive here on Ask Leo!
I'm starting to backup files and photos with a Lexar 64 G memory stick. There are no instructions with this stick and I'm the type of person who needs step-by-step instructions. Can you help?
In this excerpt from Answercast #48, I look at some issues around using a memory stick as a backup media and point to step-by-step instructions.
I have two pieces of advice for you.
You can, but I don't recommend it for ongoing backups.
The problem is that memory sticks use flash memory and flash memory has a limited number of times you can write to it before it actually wears out.
Now typically, that's not usually a huge problem, especially if you're doing backups periodically, but it's just something that makes me really uncomfortable because backups are so incredibly important.
What I recommend you do instead is actually go out and get yourself an external hard drive. They are not terribly expensive and you end up with half a terabyte (or more even) for not that much money.
That's the other part of this: 64 GB, while it sounds like a lot of room, is actually (once you start doing backups) not a whole lot.
If you're just backing up files manually, it might be okay. But if you're using backup software (which is what I'm going to recommend next), then it starts to be on the leading edge of not enough space to backup your system the way you really should be backing up your system.
So, how do you do it?
Well, a memory stick or an external drive (we treat them both the same way) is just a disk:
So, what you need to do is either of two things.
You simply copy files from your hard disk to the memory stick like you would copy it anywhere else.
That's very simplistic. It's also very error prone because:
It relies on you remembering to backup your files;
It backs up only those files that you remember to backup;
And it only backs up when you do it.
It's one of those things that's very easy to forget and it's also very easy not to backup all of the files you really intended to.
What I strongly recommend people do, whenever it comes to backup, is to invest in a backup program:
That is a program you will run on your machine and you will configure it to perform periodic backups.
You know what? Backup the C drive to this other location once a day (or something like that);
Or do incremental backups so that you're not backing up the entire thing everyday, but only those things that have changed since the previous day.
Now, I can could go on in a lot of detail about backing up because it is an important topic:
I do have a bunch of articles on how to backup on my site.
I also have a book
Maintaining Windows 7: Backing Up is a book that I wrote that specifically goes through the process step-by-step of backing up your machine using Macrium Reflect and/or Windows own built in back up with Windows 7.
There's lots of resources on the site.
I really want to point you at the backup articles I have on the site.
I kind-of want to wave you away from using the flash disk, the memory stick.
You can! Don't get me wrong, you can. Just realize that, in my opinion, it's probably not sufficient and it might even be a little risky.
Currently, I'm recommending Macrium Reflect as the best way to go about doing that.
If you're so inclined, grab a copy of Maintaining Windows 7: Backing Up.
It literally walks you through these things. Once you register the
book online, you also get access to a bunch of videos that will show you how to
do this step-by-step using Macrium Reflect and Windows own internal
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