>> Wharton Student Computing's Knowledge Base Has Moved . Find the most up to date information here.

Backing Up: What Are the Best Solutions For You?


Backing up your important documents and files is vital. Computers will always eventually fail and often this will happen when you least expect it. We recommend backing up data at least once a week.

Looking for more information on backing up?  See our Backing Up article.


Common Backup Options

Method Description Size Range
Portability Durability Ease of Use Archive Quality*
External Hard Drive Stores lots of data; not very portable 40GB - 1TB Medium Medium High Medium
Flash drive Plug into any computer with a USB port; very convenient 128MB - 64GB High High High Medium
Mapped Google Drive Available online; can be configured with either Wharton Gmail or personal 15 GB (free personal account) or Unlimited (Wharton Gmail) High High (while a student) High Medium
MyWhartonDrive (Y:) Online Storage space provided by Wharton while you are a student. 2 GB High High (while a student) High N/A
Cloud Storage (e.g.: Box.net, GoogleDrive). See Options. Automatically backed up; usually provides plenty of space. Varies High High High Varies
DVD/ CD DVD/CDs are a standard method of backing up and transferring files Varies High Medium Medium High

*Archive quality denotes the ability of the media to be used as a long-term (many years or decades) archival medium for data.

Additional Considerations

 Mapped Google Drive

  • As a student, you have unlimited space in your Wharton Google Drive
  • You can map any Google Drive (personal or Wharton) to the Public Computers by following the instructions provided here

MyWhartonDrive (Y:)

  • This space is available from the Wharton computers, or online.
  • You can create a folder on your laptop that accesses this drive automatically.
  • This option is only available while you are a student.

Cloud Storage

  • Available after you graduate
  • Some people have concerns about having their data stored in the cloud
  • For a list of options, see Cloud Storage Options.

Hard Drives

  • There's a variety of inexpensive external hard drives available.
  • Many external hard drives come pre-loaded with software to schedule automatic backups. 
  • Mac computers come with a program called Time Machine, which backs up up your data to another place on your hard drive.

Flash Drives

  • Convenient, but easy to lose
  • Work with any computer that has a USB port
  • Widely available for sale at sizes starting at 128MB, they can also be found in smaller sizes when given away as promotional material
  • Also know as a thumb-drive, Jump Drive, or memory key


  • Will last for a long time if kept in case
  • Most computers have a DVD/CD writer and writing software
  • Does not hold as much data as External Hard Drives


Article last updated:
Have more questions or want to report an error with this article?Submit a request