Backup Solutions And File Sizes

by on February 5, 2008

Q: I am purchasing an external hard drive to backup my business records, music, and pictures. I am not sure exactly how much 250gb or 500gb will hold. About how much will 250gb hold? Is this usually enough for the common person or should I go for the 500gb?

A: In terms of actual capacity your 250GB hard drive will probably hold about 232GB of data. This is due to your computer and the hard drive manufacturer both calculating the size differently. In terms of how many files you can store on a 250GB drive, you can expect to hold over 4,000 hours of mp3 music or tens if not hundreds of thousands of images from your camera depending on format and size. It’s a lot of data. Since everyone’s data can be very different the best way for you to gauge your storage needs is to find the folder in Windows you want to store and right click on it and click properties. This will bring up a box showing you the amount of data in the folder. You can also highlight multiple folders and do the same thing to get a grand total.

I would also like to caution you about your choice of using this new hard drive as a backup solution. First off, keep in mind that a backup means you have more than one copy of your data. I’ve seen a lot of people buy an external hard drive to “back up” their important data only to be just moving their data to this new drive and deleting it from its old location, only to have their new drive die on them and lose all their data! Also, if you have these two drives hooked up on your computer all the time you might still lose the data to a serious virus or external disaster (fire, flood, etc).

I recommend burning copies of your really important data to CD (can hold about 700Megs) or DVD (4.7Gigs) and keeping them in a safe place. Blank DVDs and DVD writing drives are both very affordable and you can keep copies of very important data anywhere.