There are a number of ways to do this, but one of the most popular is to store your data on a USB flash drive.
A flash drive combines a flash memory data storage device and a USB interface.
USB flash drives allow you to quickly copy and transfer data from your computer.
The data can then be stored on the USB drive and reinstalled on your computer if your computer suffers an event that causes you to lose data.
USB flash drives are small, usually less than 4 inches in length and weigh less than an ounce.
They can be easily carried in your pocket, or even attached to a key chain or other personal belongings.
A typical USB drive costs $20 to $250 and has a capacity from 2GB up to 64GB.
For this reason, the drives are most suitable personal and small business users with a relatively small amount of data to back up.
Large businesses would be better served by other means of storage.
In many ways, a USB flash drive replaces the old floppy disk.
USB's are more portable and can store much more data than floppy disks.
In addition, they can transfer data more quickly than floppy drive or the current CD-RW or DVD-RW disks.
Backing up your data to a USB drive is simple and easy to do and takes less time than some other file storage media.
In addition, their portability is virtually unmatched by other forms of data storage.
Let's look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of USB flash drives.
USB drives are cheap relative to many other storage media.
Typical external hard drives can cost as much as $500, but can hold much larger amounts of data.
You can't beat flash drives for portability.
Their small size and light weight allow you to take them virtually anywhere you need to go.
Flash drives have no sensitive moving parts, so they are relatively immune to damage and wear.
They also use less energy than other storage media.
Flash drives can be read by most operating systems and most of them don't require the installation of device drivers.
Your USB flash drives can be stored off-site so that they are not susceptible to local problems that your computer may be at risk of such as power surges, floods, fire or other natural disasters.
Disk image backup function.
With this function, you can transfer the entire contents of a hard drive to your flash drive.
File encryption is supported.
With many USB drives, you can encrypt your files to protect your data if it should fall into the wrong hands.
Ease of use.
You can use back up programs to automatically back up your files to a regular schedule.
You can then leave the flash drive connected to your computer at all times and not ever have to worry about backing up your files.
Thumb drives are usually not suitable as storage devices for large companies since they can store a somewhat limited amount of data.
Another drawback to their size is that they can be lost or stolen easily.
USB drives tend to have a smaller storage capacity than larger external drives.
Although there have been substantial improvements in their ability to store data, a typical external drive is still a better option if you have large amounts of data to back up.
Creating a Backup on a USB flash drive To use a USB flash drive to back up your data, first you need to know the amount of data you need to store and choose a drive with a capacity large enough to store your data.
When you've chosen your drive, simply plug it in to your computer and wait for the operating system to detect the drive.
When the drive is detected, go to My Computer and click on the USB drive icon.
Open the files you want to store and copy or drag them to the flash drive's folder.
Check to make sure your data has been stored correctly by double clicking the filename in the flash drive's folder.
When you remove the drive from your computer, you should first click on the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon in the window's tray and click on "eject" or "remove hardware safely".
You'll get a message letting you know when it is safe to remove the drive.