How to Back Up Your Data to Your Personal Drive, Google Drive, or an External Storage Device

This article will show you how to back up your computer's local user profile, which is stored on your computer's hard drive, to either your P: drive, Google Drive, or an external device such as a USB flash drive or external hard drive. Instructions are included for both Windows and Macintosh. If you have questions about these procedures or run into difficulties executing them, contact your Computing Coordinator.

P: Drive

Step 1 - Locate Your User Profile

Windows

To locate your local user profile, open File Explorer on your computer, type %userprofile% into the path bar, and press Enter. You can launch File Explorer by pressing Windows Key + E on your keyboard, which works for all versions of Windows.

Macintosh

With Finder selected (click anywhere on your desktop), click on Go in the menu bar along the top of the screen and then select Home from the dropdown menu to access your local user profile, or use the keyboard shortcut Shift + Command + H.

Step 2 - Select the Folders to Back Up

Windows

After you have navigated to your local user profile (look for your username in the path bar), you will want to select the subfolders to back up by holding Ctrl on your keyboard and left-clicking each folder you want. You can also drag and select all of the folders if you want. At a minimum, we recommend that you select:

  • Desktop
  • Documents
  • Downloads

After you have selected the folders you want to back up, you need to copy them to your computer's clipboard by pressing Ctrl + C on your keyboard or by right-clicking on any of the selected folders and selecting Copy from the menu.

Macintosh

Confirm that you are in your home folder by looking for you username next to a small house icon in the top-center of the Finder window. You should then select the subfolders you want to back up by holding Command on your keyboard and left-clicking on the folders individually. At a minimum, we recommend that you select:

  • Desktop
  • Documents
  • Downloads

After you have selected the folders you want to back up, you need to copy them to your computer's clipboard by pressing Command + C on your keyboard. You can also copy the folders by holding Ctrl on your keyboard, left-clicking on any of the selected folders, and then selecting "Copy X Items" from the menu, where X will be replaced by a count of the folders you have selected.

Step 3 - Create a Backup Folder on Your P: Drive

Windows

Now that you have copied the folders you want to back up, you need to create a new folder on your P: drive to hold them. You can do this by navigating to your P: drive and pressing Ctrl + Shift + N on your keyboard. Name the folder something descriptive and then press Enter to lock in the name.

Macintosh

Follow these instructions to connect to your P: drive, then create a new folder there by clicking on File in the menu bar, then selecting New Folder. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Shift + Command + N.

After creating the folder, select navigate down into it by double-clicking on its icon.