Lab – Backup Data to External Storage Answers Lab – Backup Data to External Storage (Answers)


Backup user data.
Part 1: Use a local external disk to backup data
Part 2: Use a remote disk to backup data

Background / Scenario

It is important to establish a backup strategy that includes data recovery of personal files.

While many backup tools are available, this lab focuses on the Microsoft Backup Utility to perform backups to local external disks. In Part 2, this lab uses the Dropbox service to backup data to a remote or cloud-based drive.

Required Resources

  • PC or mobile device with Internet access

Part 1: Backing Up to a Local External Disk

Step 1: Getting Started With Backup Tools in Windows

Computer usage and organizational requirements determine how often data must be backed up and the type of backup to perform. It can take a long time to run a backup. If the backup strategy is followed carefully, it is not necessary to back up all files every time. Only the files that have changed since the last backup need to be backed up.

Microsoft Windows includes backup tools that can be used to backup files. In versions earlier than Windows 8, you could use Backup and Restore to backup your files. Windows 8.1 ships with File History which can be used to back up the files in the Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop folders. Over time, File History builds a history of your files, allowing you to go back and recover specific versions of a file. This is a helpful feature if there are damaged or lost files.

Windows 7 and Vista ship with a different backup tool called Backup and Restore. When an external drive is selected, Windows 7 will offer the chance to use the new drive a backup device. Use Backup and Restore to manage backups.

To access the Backup and Restore utility in Windows 7, follow the steps below:

a. Connect an external drive.

b. Execute the Backup and Restore by using the following path:
Start > Control Panel > Backup and Restore

To get started with File History in Windows 8.1, follow the steps below:

a. Connect an external drive.

b. Turn on File History by using the following path:
Control Panel > File History > click Turn on

Note: Other operating systems also have backup tools available. Apple OS X includes Time Machine while Ubuntu Linux includes Déjà Dup, by default.

Step 2: Backing up the Documents and Pictures folders

Now that the external disk is connected and you know how to find the backup tool, set it up to back up the Documents and Pictures folders every day, at 3 a.m.

a. Open Backup and Restore (Windows 7) or File History (Windows 8.x).

b. Select the external disk you want to use to receive the backup.

c. Specify what you want to be backed up to the disk. For this lab, choose the Documents and Pictures folders.

d. Set up a backup schedule. For this lab, use daily at 3 a.m.

Why would you choose to perform backups at 3 a.m.?
Because this is likely to be a low-usage time and little to no impact to user operations is expected.

e. Start the backup by clicking the Save settings and run backup.

Part 2: Backing Up to a Remote Disk

Step 1: Getting Familiar With Cloud-Based Backup Services

Another option for a backup destination is a remote disk. This might be a complete cloud service, or simply a NAS connected to the network, remote backups are also very common.

a. List a few of cloud-based backup services.
Answers will vary. Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Amazon AWS.

b. Research the services you listed above. Are these services free?
Answers will vary. Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and Apple iCloud are free for a small and limited amount of storage. If the user needs more storage space, a monthly fee must be paid.

c. Are the services listed by you platform dependent?
Answers will vary. Most of the popular cloud backup services are not platform dependent and have web interfaces or clients available for all the major platforms.

d. Can you access your data from all devices you own (desktop, laptop, tablet and phone)?
Answers will vary. Yes. Most of the popular cloud-based backup services have clients for all computer platforms.

Step 2: Using Backup and Restore to Back Up Data to the Cloud

Choose a service that fits your needs and backup your copy of your Documents folder to the cloud. Notice that Dropbox and OneDrive allow you to create a folder on your computer that acts as a link to the cloud drive. Once created, files copied to that folder are automatically uploaded to the cloud by the cloud-service client that is always running. This setup is very convenient because you can use any backup tools of your choice to schedule cloud backups. To use Windows Backup and Restore to back up your files to Dropbox, follow the steps below:

a. Visit http://dropbox.com and sign up for a free Dropbox account.

b. When the account is created, Dropbox will display all the files stored in your account. Click your name and click Install to download and install the appropriate Dropbox client for your operating system.

c. Open the downloaded program to install the client.

d. After the installation is complete, the Dropbox client will create a folder named Dropbox inside your Home folder. Notice that any files copied into the newly created folder will be automatically copied to Dropbox’s cloud-hosted servers.

e. Open Windows Backup and Restore and configure it to use the new Dropbox folder as a backup destination.


1. What are the benefits of backing up data to a local external disk?
Local backups are entirely under user’s control and no other parties have access to the data. Local backups are always available as it does not depend on an Internet connection.

2. What are the drawbacks of backing up data to a local external disk?
Measures must be taken if the user wants/needs to access the data from other devices or locations. In case of a disaster such as fire or flooding, the local backup disks are also at risk.

3. What are the benefits of backing up data to a cloud-based disk?
Because data is replicated to an off-site location, it is more resilient to disaster.

4. What are the drawbacks of backing up data to a cloud-based disk?
The data is now under the care of a third party company. This company can read and access the data. Also, if the amount of data is high, a storage fee must be paid.

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