Backing Up Locally

The term local back up refers to copying your important data to devices directly connected to your computer. Local back ups generally are the preferred method to back up large amounts of data, since they usually use connections with faster data transfer rates. In addition to higher speeds, they also do not require your computer to be on a high-speed data network, which most often is necessary for remote back ups.

There are many different kinds of devices that can be used for local back ups, but the most popular devices currently are external USB hard drives (or flash drives for smaller amounts of data), and CD/DVD drives.
Backing Up to an External Hard Drive

External hard drives are probably the easiest and fastest devices used to back up large volumes of personal data.

To back up your data to an external hard drive, connect the USB cable from your hard drive to your computer, and connect the external power supply to your external hard drive if it has one. Your computer should find your hard drive automatically, and install necessary drivers. After it is connected, your hard drive should appear either as an icon on your desktop (for Macs), or as a drive in the My Computer window (for PCs).

To restore files that were backed up to an external hard drive, copy the backed up files to their original location on your system drive, usually the C: drive.
Backing Up to CD or DVD

Backing up data to CD or DVD also can be a good way to back up data locally, and often is cheaper than backing up to external hard drives.

One thing to keep in mind when backing up data to CD or DVD is that there is a much smaller storage capacity on these media discs than there is on external hard drives, with about 700 MB for CDs and about 4 GB for DVDs. Because of this limit in capacity, it is important to take a look at the size of the files you are backing up, and group them in appropriately sized sets before copying them to CD or DVD.

To restore files that were backed up to CD or DVD, simply copy the backed up files to their original location on your system drive (usually the C: drive).