There are better options.
A common question.
I don’t know what free software came with your drive. Chances are, neither do you.
That tells us something.
Free external drive backup software
Many external drives come pre-loaded with software.
In my experience, backup software supplied with external drives falls into one or more of several categories.
- It’s from a company you’ve never heard of.
- It’s a pared-down version with limited functionality.
- It’s a trial version, and at some point you’ll have to pay to keep using it.
- It’s exactly what you want.
OK, the last one is facetious; I’ve never seen it happen.
In the other cases, you either don’t know how good the software is, or find out it doesn’t do everything you need.
My advice: don’t bother.
Free backup software
There are better free solutions.
Windows includes its own backup program. As of Windows 7, it contains the “bare minimum” to back up your system and files. It’s slated for removal from Windows 10 and Microsoft recommends you find a different solution.
There are other free backup utilities I’m less familiar with that appear to have a generally positive reputation.
Backups are important
I have a high standard.
Backups are important. Really important.
To me, they’re worth spending time, and perhaps even money, to make sure the software and setup work well.
I recommend investing in quality backup software like Macrium Reflect’s or EaseUS Todo’s paid versions. Take the time to set it up properly. The software and your effort will quickly pay for itself when disaster strikes.
When I get a new external drive, I do this:
- Out of curiosity, I look to see what software came with it.
- If there is software, I make a copy and archive it. If I overlooked something important that came with the drive, I can recover it.
- I erase the drive completely with a quick format.
- I put it into service. If it’s a backup drive, I use Macrium Reflect.
I recommend you do something similar.
For related links, videos, and comments visit Should You Use the Free Backup Software that Comes with Some External Drives? on Ask Leo!
Leo Notenboom has been programming computers since 1976, and answering questions about them online since 2003. For more, see askleo.com.