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Backing Up Data

Backing Up Personal Data & Files

You are responsible for making backups of personal data/files stored on the ThinkPad. 

 Why back up my data/files? Files and data can be lost through viruses, accidental deletion, hardware failure, or theft of the computer. Most hard drives are made up of moving parts which will eventually fail after extended use, that is why it is essential that you maintain a backup of your data so that you do not lose anything that is important to you or your work.  Backups should reduce the impact of such occurrences.  In addition, if you are bringing the ThinkPad to the Bridge for exchange or repairs, your data must be backed up prior to service. 

 How often should I back up my data/files? A good rule of thumb is to back up your data/files whenever you have done enough work that you would not want to re-create it if your changes were lost. Always back up your data before you bring the ThinkPad to the Service Desk walk-in area for repairs. 

 What type of storage device should I use? External hard drives and USB flash/thumb drives are the major options that can be used to back up your data. 

Backup Options

There are many different options you can use to store/back up your data. Explore some of those options here

WFU Google accounts now have unlimited storage in Google Drive.  For information about Google Drive please visit here.

External Hard Drive Backup

Lists of USB flash drives and external drives that support encryption can be found on the Wake Forest University Information Security web site

Windows 8 Using Windows Explorer to Create a Backup of Your Files to an External Hard Driv
  • Close all programs and files.
  • Click the Start menu.
  • Click Your Name (i.e., LastName, FirstName MI)
  • Hold down the Ctrl key while clicking each folder and file you want to copy.
  • Right-click and select Copy.
  • Close the window.
  • Plug in your external hard drive. 
  • After a few seconds, your external hard drive window should appear (most likely drive D:)
  • If the window does not automatically appear, follow these steps:
    • Click Start menu.
    • Click Computer.
    • Locate and double-click on your external hard drive (most likely drive D:)
  • Right-click in the external hard drive window and select Paste.
  • A small dialog box will appear displaying time remaining. Depending on the amount of data, it may take several minutes.
If you have files saved other places on your computer, make sure you back those up as well. (ex: desktop).

Windows 7 Using Windows Explorer to Create a Backup of Your Files to an External Hard Drive
  • Close all programs and files.
  • Click the Start menu.
  • Click Computer.
  • Double-click on D:
  • Select the UserData and Users folder by holding the Ctrl key and clicking each folder.
  • Right-click and select Copy.
  • Close the window.
  • Make sure the external hard drive is plugged in. Note: Close the AutoPlay window if it appears.
  • Click Start menu.
  • Click Computer.
  • Locate and right-click on your external hard drive (most likely drive F: ).
  • Click Paste.
  • A small dialog box will appear, displaying time remaining. Depending on the amount of data, it may take several minutes.
Contact the Service Desk if you have questions about making a backup of your data. 

Verifying Your Data Backup

When backing up your data, you want to ensure that you are backing up your actual files and folders, and not just shortcut's to said files. To verify your data is all there, connect your external hard drive or USB devices you used to perform the backup. Go to Computer or My Computer and double click your external drive.  Once open, you should be able to view the folders and or files you have backed up.  We recommend checking the size of the files to determine whether or not you have the correct items.

Checking File Size

If you have saved your files inside of a folder on your external device, right click that folder and select Properties.  If the folder size is in the kilobytes or KB's you most likely do not have all your data. Large amounts of data should reach up in to the megabytes or MB's at least, however most are in to the gigabytes or GB's. Similarly, if you have simply saved your files on to an external device, but did not place them in a folder - right click the external devices and select Properties to see the size of all the files saved on the drive. You can perform this test on all External Hard Drives, USB's and DVDs. Remember: If using a DVD to back up, don't forget to remove it from the drive after checking the file size.

Restoring a Data Backup

  • Plug the external device that contains your data into the ThinkPad and open this device.
  • Find the backed up data on the external device and right-click on the folder(s) that contain the data.
  • Click Copy.
  • Right click on the desktop of the ThinkPad.
  • Select Paste.
  • Open the folder(s) on the ThinkPad to ensure that all data was copied.
  • Files can be organized as necessary throughout the file structure of the ThinkPad. Ex. If your data backup included pictures, open the “My Pictures” folder and copy and paste all pictures into this folder if desired.