Is It OK to Back up Multiple Computers to a Single External Hard Drive?

How many computers or laptops do you have? If you hold more than one computer for different use, you should back up all of them. At this time, you may wonder if it’s OK to back them up to one external hard drive. This article will tell you the answer.

Nowadays, it is believed that a great amount of users have more than one laptops and computers. Each one may be used for different fields. Yet, irrespective of the actual use of these machines, it’s prudent and extremely important to back up the data on all of them. Otherwise, once data loss occurs, you would attempt difficult data recovery, such as PST recovery. At this point, you may wish to back up all of them to a single external hard drive. But, before doing that, you may hesitate and be confused about whether it is right or not. In the followings, we will expose you the answer as well as detailed principles.Is It OK to Back up Multiple Computers to a Single External Hard Drive?

Of Course, You CAN!

To be honest, it is exactly OK to back up over one computer to a single external hard drive. Yet, in this process, it will depend on many external factors, such as what backup software you use. For instance, some software doesn’t support this. In a nutshell, back up several computers to one drive has some drawbacks, listed as follow:


1. Can’t Back up Meanwhile

First of all, you can’t back up these computers at the same time. An external hard drive is unable to connect to more than one machine in the meantime. Usually, after backing up a computer, you should eject and unplug the drive from it, then insert it to another computer.

2. Can’t Set up Automatic Backup

Moreover, you are incapable of configuring automatic backup any more. To run back up automatically demands you keep the hard drive connected when backup. However, you cannot make sure about this key factor.

Vital Things to Do Before Such Backup

If you don’t care about the above shortcomings and have decided to back up your computers to one drive, you’d better make some precautions, like the followings.

1. Ensure Enough Storage Space

Undoubtedly, you ought to check the storage space of your external hard drive. It is a vital step to insure that the hard drive’s storage capacity is large enough for storing the backups of multiple PCs. Or else, if there is not enough space, backup tend to fail halfway.

2. Store Computer Backups in Separate Folders

Furthermore, so as not to clutter up the backups for different computers, you are better off organizing them into folders. For example, you should create a top-level folder of “Backups”. Under it, you need to create folders for different PCs, such as “Computer 1”, “Computer 2” and so on. Then, you can separate backups into their own folders.

3. Select Supporting Backup Software

As what mentioned above, some software doesn’t allow users to back up several machines to the same hard drive. Therefore, when you choose backup utility, you need to pay attention to whether the tool has such functions.

Author Introduction:

Shirley Zhang is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including recover Sql Server and outlook repair software products. For more information visit

2 responses to “Is It OK to Back up Multiple Computers to a Single External Hard Drive?”

  1. This advice is surely only for one touch drives. Using other drives, you should be able to safely unplug from one computer and then back up another one manually. If your computers have less storage than all your saved music, videos, photos etc, then a large external drive can be used for storage so the files are available from any device. Preferably two or more drives should be used so everything is duplicated in case of a hard drive crash.

  2. How do i know if the external hard drive will back up more than 1 computer or if i van compartmentalize them on the hard drive?

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