One of the coolest things about answering questions here at WorldStart is hearing from people will all levels of experience with technology. It’s a great feeling to help someone out. A lot of us are pretty familiar with USB drives and how they work, but to some folks, they’re still a bit of a mystery. Like this reader:

“I am a senior citizen who has never used a USB device before. Is it possible to back up my hard drive to several USB devices by backing up a portion on each USB device? Can I make a mirror image this way instead of using an external hard drive? Would this even be practical? I read your tips daily, thank you for all the help they offer.”

I will assume you mean a USB drive, called a flash drive or a thumb drive, that plugs into your computer’s USB port. Lots of devices can plug into a USB port, including a mouse, keyboard or speakers.


If you want to back up individual groups of files, you can do them to separate USB drives. You could use one drive for documents, another for photos, one for your e-mail and another for music. Each of the individual drives would need to have enough storage to fit that portion of your files.

Keeping track of those drives could get confusing, often times people find it more convenient to do it all on one larger drive.


You can’t make a mirror image on a group of USB drives. You need one drive that’s large enough to mirror your whole system.  You’ll want to go with a properly sized external hard drive for that task. If you happen to have an old hard drive lying around, you may be able to put it in a hard drive enclosure and use that for your external backup hard drive.

~ Cynthia