Specifically, we will look at how to backup using Google Drive or an encrypted external drive which you can purchase on Deacon Depot or at stores like Office Depot, Best Buy, Target, Amazon, etc. First things first, when we say “backup your data”, we mean “put your data in another location”. Backing up your data is especially important when you’re getting a new computer. The process of backing up and transferring data is a lot like the process of moving into a new home.

Process Of Backing Up

Think of your new computer as your new home. As we must pack and move our furniture and belongings when we move, we also have to gather and move our data when we get a new computer. Also just like the belongings in our home, the more we have the longer the process will take. If I have hundreds of files or large files like videos, the process could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours or more. Let’s get started. It’s good to look at this process in three steps.

1. Have a plan. Know if you’re going to put your data into Google Drive or on to an encrypted external drive. This is just like deciding between a U-Haul or a Penske moving truck.

2. Organize your files. Find your data and prepare to move it. Make sure you look at every location on your computer where you store files, like on your desktop and your Documents folder, your C Drive, your Users folder, everywhere. Then organize your files in a way that makes sense, if they’re not already organized. Create folders and put those files into the folders. This is the part where you’re boxing up your belongings and double-checking all of your closets.

3. Make the move and put your data in the drive location you’ve chosen, whether it’s Google Drive or your external drive. This is the part where you’re loading your boxes onto the truck.

Google Drive

Let’s go ahead and take a look at the process. I’ll demonstrate both backing up to Google drives, as well as to an external hard drive. Let’s start with Google Drive. To open Google Drive you can simply open your Wake Forest Google Mail, then click the app launcher in the top right corner, and click Drive, or you can simply open a web browser and open Google drive website and login with your Wake Forest credentials. Here’s a little tip: our Wake Forest Google Drive gives us unlimited storage space. This means we can store literally all of our data in Google Drive.

Next, I’m going to create a folder on my desktop and give it a meaningful name like Data Backup or something to that effect, and maybe today’s date, to do that I’ll simply right-click on my desktop and choose New > Folder. I’ll call this DataBackup610 and hit Enter. Next, I’m going to find all of my files on my computer and drag them into this folder that I’ve created on my desktop. I can also drag folders in there as well. I’ll drag all of my files into my folder, and finally, I will begin the process of moving my data. There are two ways to do this. With Google Drive, I can either click New > Folder upload, then locate my folder on my desktop, click OK, and it will begin uploading, or very simply I can click and drag my folder onto my Google Drive.

You might notice at the bottom it says Drop files to instantly upload them to My Drive, so I will just drop those and I can see now at the bottom right corner it says the “upload is complete”. Of course again, as I mentioned, if you have a lot of files or large files this could take a long time. Once it says “upload complete” I am finished. Now if I’m using an encrypted external drive, I’ll do almost exactly the same thing, except I’ll plug in my external drive and when it pops up, I can simply drag and drop my folder of files into this drive. Now I’ve mentioned that the drive should be encrypted, especially if I’m moving confidential or sensitive information. If you’re not familiar with how to encrypt a drive, simply locate it here in your Windows Explorer and I can see removable disk (D) all I have to do is right-click on this, choose turn on Bit Locker, it will take just a moment, and then it will prompt me through a short process.

Now to encrypt this drive I would like this to require a password in order to unlock it. So I’m going to check the box next to “Use a password to unlock this drive”, and I’m now going to set an alpha-numeric password. I can include spaces and symbols. I’ll click Next. I’m going to save my recovery key to a file, or I could print it. I’ll click Next again. Next again, and start encrypting. A little tip for you: if this is the first time you’re encrypting your drive, do it before you put any data on the drive. It’s much faster if you do it beforehand when it’s empty. When it is complete you can click Close, and now I can simply drag and drop my folder of contents onto my encrypted external drive. Once the data is on my external drive or in Google Drive the transfer part is easy. Just like unloading and unpacking my moving boxes I can download my files onto my new computer as I need.

If I’m using Google Drive, on my new computer I can open a web browser and go to Google Drive just as I’ve done before by going into my mail, and then click the app launcher, and click Drive, or by going to Google drive website and logging in. I can locate the folder, then choose Download. Those files will now download on to my new computer. If I’m using an external hard drive, I’ll plug it into my new computer and open the drive. I can see it as Bit Locker protected so I’ll click this and it will require the password that I set for it. Now I can see the contents of my folder and I can very easily click and drag those on to the desktop of my new computer. Of course, as a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to always backup your data as often as you make significant changes or additions, not just when you’re getting a new computer.