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What to Backup?

If you are just starting your backup use the guide below to see which files and folders you might want to backup. If you are trying to figure out what size backup you want, see "How to Estimate Your Backup Size." If you're still not sure, you can start with our 25GB plan and upgrade later.

What do I need to backup?

My Backup Drive lets you backup as many files as you want. Whether you only want to safeguard your most important documents and photos or to backup as much as possible, My Backup Drive makes it easy. The more you backup, the more space you will need for your backup.

How to Estimate Your Backup Size

My Backup Drive has any easy-to-use Backup Scanner Tool that can quickly give you an estimate of how many files you might want to backup. Just download the Backup Scanner Tool to see what it finds.

You also might want to review this list of recommended and optional backup items above and then look on your PC to estimate how many files you have. For example, to see how much space you need to backup My Documents, right-click on My Documents and wait for Windows to calculate the folder size. You can add together the folders you want to backup to create a quick estimate or choice folder you may not want to backup.

Recommended to Backup

  • Documents: Office documents (like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel), PDF files, banking and financial files (like tax returns or Quicken files).
  • Photos: JPEGs or Raw files with family photos, vacation pics, and more.
  • Videos: Favorite video clips that you couldn't bear to lose.
  • My Documents: Make sure to include My Documents or the folders in My Documents where you save your documents, photos, etc.
  • Desktop: Make sure to select the Desktop or any folders on the Desktop that you often use.
  • Libraries: Check these public folders on Windows 8/7 to make sure you select any folders in here that you might be using.

Optional to Backup

  • Photos: If you have many gigabytes of photos you may only want to backup ones that are important to you.
  • Music: Music can take lots of backup space, so if you have a large music collection, you may not want to backup everything online.
  • Videos: Videos take even more space than music to store. It's not recommended to backup large video files unless they are very important to backup. (eg: It might be cheaper to buy a movie again than to pay the online backup cost of the movie for several years.)

Special Backup Types

  • Databases: If you have databases you backup, you need to create a flat .bak file to backup. The live database file cannot be backed up while in use.
  • Email: Most people store their email online (in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, etc) but if you have an email account that is only stored on your computer, you may want to back it up. What you need to backup depends on your email client.

Not Recommended to Backup

  • Programs: It is not recommended to backup programs if you can just reinstall them via download or disk.
  • System: It is not recommended to backup the system or Windows directory. Restoring the system from your original disk is the best option during a recovery. My Backup Drive does not support "bare metal" recovery. You can consider backing up specific settings files or preferences, although this might require an expert user to understand what to backup and where it is located.

How much do you need to
backup? Use our free tool: