Possible Duplicates:
How do you backup your data?
What backup software for Windows?

I want to setup a backup system for my laptop that is:

  1. convenient
  2. low-cost
  3. safe/redundant

I consider myself to have an average amount of data. Photos are the bulk of the space. I own a T500 Thinkpad.

Please help with suggestions. Thanks!

  • "average amount of data" If it's <= 2GB then free online backup is possible <=5GB still possibly some may offer that. > than that, then you could do paid online backup. Or, no limit, your own backup.. details of that, could vary no doubt people have some ideas.
    – barlop
    Nov 13, 2010 at 17:31
  • 1
    "average" is very subjective. It's easily several dozen gigabytes, if not more, if you're a professional photographer.
    – Daniel Beck
    Nov 13, 2010 at 17:51

5 Answers 5


Buy a portable bus-powered hard drive that you can carry around in your laptop bag and use that for regular incremental backups a la OS X Time Machine (not sure what the Windows equivalent would be, but I'm sure there is one.)

For redundancy, keep a desktop-class external drive at a static location ("off-site" if possible) and mirror the portable external to it every week or month or so. That way you have an immediately accessible backup if your laptop dies, but also a safety net in case your entire laptop bag gets stolen or your house burns down or something.

  • Obviously this answer is hardware-based; you may have little enough data that an online solution will be more cost-effective and convenient.
    – NReilingh
    Nov 13, 2010 at 17:52

If it's < 2 GB (or up to 8 GB if you're willing to do referrals) I suggest Dropbox. The application is very transparent. Larger than 8 GB does exist, but they have a recurring cost and you would be better off investing in a portable HDD. They have 500 GB USB HDDs for around USD $100, or you could spend USD $200-$250 for up to a 2 TB, which should hold a picture or two.

There are also USB 3.0 HDDs or ones with multiple connectors (eSATAp, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Firewire) that you can get as well, depending on the desired speed of transfer.

  • Note that dropbox also do syncing and online access - if those two things sound useful, the larger packages would be well worth the price.
    – Phoshi
    Nov 13, 2010 at 21:26
  1. Convenient usually means fully automated, which means you're looking for one of the many online backup solutions. If you have your own computer with sufficient storage that is always on then you could look at setting up your own personal solution (you can use CrashPlan's software to do that).
  2. Low cost, along with the other requirements, will be a relative thing. That said, CrashPlan is $4.50 a year at most for unlimited storage.
  3. Redundant means using multiple backup methods and/or locations. If you're using CrashPlan you could configure multiple destinations, or you could use both an online backup and a removable disk.

Whatever you chose, remember to test recovery of all your methods at regular intervals.


Carbonite offers unlimited automated backup to the cloud for about $50/year.


Have you not tried the ThinkVantage Rescue & Recovery? It works very well with external drives. I only wished it worked with network drives.

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