What Size External Hard Drive Do I Need to Backup My Laptop | Quick Guide

What size external hard drive do I need to back up my laptop? We always ask this question when we have an issue that the space in our laptop is insufficient, so we want to buy an external hard drive to back up our data. This article will give you an answer in detail.

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Updated by Jerry on Sep 12, 2023
Written by Jean

The Answer to Know the Size of the External Hard Drive You  Need to Backup Laptop 

what size external hard drive do i need to backup my laptop

The Data You Want to Back up Determine the Size of the External Hard Drive

You might be wondering what size external hard drive do I need to back up my laptop when your disk storage space is not enough.  From Windows 7, its Backup and Restore tool doesn't merely take every file from your hard drive and send it to your backup drive. Selecting which file folders to include in the backup is possible with the Windows system's Backup and Restore feature. Alternatively, the file system also enables you to choose your media library. Additionally, Application files and temporary files are excluded by default in Windows 7's and ups' Backup & Restore programs.

The backup size can vary from a few gigabytes to several terabytes depending on the number of files you're backing up. Here are some essential steps to find the capacity of your PC. Press the Windows logo key + e to open file explorer, and then click on the This PC icon on the window's left side to see how much storage space your external hard drive needs to have. You may view a summary of your hard drive(s), its capacity, and available space on the right under Devices and drives. The minimal capacity required for your external hard drive to store a complete backup copy of your entire computer is the total capacity minus free space.

the capacity of your pc

The Smallest Size of an External Hard Drive

You will want at least 16 GB of free space for your backup, regardless of whether you use a USB flash drive or another disk. Although this is the bare minimum needed for Windows backups, keep in mind that the recovery drive's storage space is limited and doesn't back up personal files and third-party software.

The Largest Size of an External Hard Drive

The backup hard disk doesn't need to be any more extensive than the combined size of all the hard drives installed in your computer if you're planning to retain one system backup. For example, a 500GB external hard drive will do if your computer's hard drive is 500GB. 

The backup disk can be a tiny bit smaller because it is unlikely that all your hard drives will be entire. If the external hard disk is more significant than the computer drives, it won't utilize the excess space.

Here are two types of external hard drives, HDD and SSD. You can choose one of them to be your suitable external hard drive.

hdd vs. ssd

Compared to HDD, SSD has faster read speeds and more capacity but is also more expensive. If you want to know more about these differences, you can see HDD vs. SSD Guide. In addition, do you know how to clone hdd to ssd, click the link front, then you can find it in detail.

Start a live chat with an EaseUS Expert to tailor an enterprise backup solution specific to your requirements. We are here to assist you with the following as well:

  • Commence a free trial
  • Obtain a quotation
  • Arrange a free demonstration

Backup Laptops With a Better Way to Save Space in Your Laptop

Using a suitable method to back up your laptop can save your laptop's space. Here is a good method you can refer to. Using a trustable application to save disk space can help you a lot. EaseUS Todo Backup, a high-performance, easy-to-use Windows backup software can help us save disk space while increasing backup speed. Here are some functions and advantages of it.

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  • Functions:
  • 1. The best way to create backup compression. Compression of backups can help with storage space optimization. This method allows for compression, which reduces data size by reducing repetitions and redundancies, can be used. In other words, it can shrink the file size by better encoding the contents.
  • 2. Merge split file function. EaseUS Todo Backup Merge and Split feature can split a large file into several smaller files so that you can save disk space by backing up only the files you need instead of backing up the entire file. Or you can combine multiple files you need into one large file to save backup time.
  • 3. Highly supports backup options. As the backup destination, you have three options: an external hard drive, manually entering the path to a network share or a cloud service. In the picture reserve strategy, you may specify you should retain how many days' worth of photographs. You can also decide whether to back up your data daily, weekly, or monthly. You can take advantage of more sophisticated features like Smart Backup, a global restore, or even clone disk free or partition if you upgrade to the premium edition. You can use it to do a full backup, incremental backup vs differential backup.
  • Pros:
  • User-friendly
  • Hassle-free refund
  • An old brand for data backup and recovery
  • Multiple different versions (Free, Home, Mac)

Here is the step to back up your data using EaseUS Todo Backup.

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Todo Backup on your computer, and click Create Backup on the home screen and then hit the big question mark to select backup contents.

backup outlook mail step1

Step 2. To back up your Windows operating system, click "OS" to begin the backup task.

backup outlook mail step2

Step 3. Your Windows operating system information and all system related files and partitions will be automatically selected so you don't need to do any manual selection at this step. Next, you'll need to choose a location to save the system image backup by clicking the illustrated area.

system backup

Step 4. The backup location can be another local drive on your computer, an external hard drive, network, cloud or NAS. Generally, we recommend you use an external physical drive or cloud to preserve the system backup files. 

backup outlook mail step4

Step 5. Customiztion settings like enabling an automatic backup schedule in daily, weekly, monthly, or upon an event, and making a differential and incremental backup are available in the Options button if you're interested. Click "Backup Now", and the Windows system backup process will begin. The completed backup task will display on the left side in a card style.

backup outlook mail step 5

Final Thought

After running over this passage, we may know what size external hard drive do we need to back up our laptop. And when you can choose the suitable types of external hard drives for you. Of course, using different methods to save space to make our laptops run faster is essential. I highly recommend a free backup software called EaseUS Todo Backup since it has many pros, such as it is an old data backup and recovery brand, so it is professional. What's more, it is a user-friendly application. Most importantly, it applies to multiple versions (Free, Home, Mac) and hassle-free refunds.


1. How do I backup a folder to an external hard drive?

Connect the external hard drive to your computer, then click and drag the selected files or folders to the external drive to back them up. The external drive and the PC will now each have a copy. Although copying files and folders to an external hard drive is simple, it is also simple to forget to do so.

2. How to back up my PC with File History?

To backup to a network site or external drive, use file history windows 10. To access a backup, go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Backup. Select an external drive or network location for your backups after adding a drive.

3. How many documents can 1TB hold?

According to the paper, a one-terabyte container could hold 18,750,000 documents, assuming an average of four pages per document, given that one terabyte typically contains 75 million pages.

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Updated by Jerry

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Written by Jean

Jean is recognized as one of the most professional writers in EaseUS. She has kept improving her writing skills over the past 10 years and helped millions of her readers solve their tech problems on PC, Mac, and iOS devices.

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Product Reviews

TrustScore 4.7 | 47 reviews
  • Taking everything into consideration, we can say that EaseUS Todo Backup Home can offer you a little extra sense of security with a set of advanced tools. The interface provides quick adaptation, every process guiding you all the way through so you don't get stuck or further damage your system rather than keeping it safe.

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  • EaseUS Todo Backup Free lets you create backups of your important files or your entire computer through its streamlined interface. Just choose the backup type you'd like to get started, and let the program do the reset.

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  • EaseUS includes all the features I expect from backup software like versioning, incremental backups, and scheduling. For more advanced users, EaseUS allows you to install a pre-boot environment onto your hard drive so you can use it to restore files without burning a CD or putting it on an external USB drive.

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EaseUS Todo Backup

Smart backup tool for your files and entire computer in Windows 10/8/7.

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