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So you've gone out and purchased an external hard drive, to supplement and back-up the quickly filling storage drive on your main PC or laptop. Good for you. Now what's your plan for doing the back-ups? How often will you do them?
If backing up data is important enough to you to go out and purchase an external hard drive, external hard disk, or portable hard drive in the first place, invest in automated back-up software as well.
Most external hard drives bundle an automated back-up program with the hardware. You'll want to set up the software immediately and then set it to back up daily at a convenient time --- not when you're likely to be sitting in front of it trying to complete an important job. Many models also come with an external button that will allow you to perform a back-up with one touch. This is useful for those times when you've completed something really important and it's 12 hours until the next scheduled back-up.
Bottom line: Set up the automated back-up program that comes with your external hard drive now, so you don't have to worry about performing back-ups yourself.