is a burner. CD or DVD, external works for me. I just back up what I can't afford to loose, stuff like you mentioned. There's no need to back up the entire OS as it can be reinstalled.
If you have quite a lot of "stuff" a DVD burner should work nicely. Optical drives are simpler than hard drives and should work with USB-1. I know, you've heard that before, but an optical drive is nothing like a hard drive.
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I have a Dell Inspiron WindowsXP Service Pack 2, 80gb (really 70.2) with 44+gb available. I have more bookmarks than you can imagine which ae crucial for my research. I have lots of photos and also quite a few files of family trees (which are large like Photos and sometimes include photos, texts, etc.).
Most of my files were transferred from an old computer to this one. I have been completely derelict in backing up this laptop (although I used to be good about this). I was turned off when I has my old laptop's System Registry destroyed by a Sandisk USB2 jump drive which the salesman assured me would be backward compatible with my USB1. My Dell was destroyed and the Dell tech could not repair it. So I had to buy a new laptop prematurely. I haven't backed up since then.
What do I backup my files with now? Any software and hardware recomendations? Should I get a MyBook or something like it for storage of my research bookmarks, files, photos, family trees, and word, Excel, Publisher, etc. files? Does one back up the entire harddrive on a MyBook with System files and all of one's software (MS OfficeSuite, Family Tree Maker, McAfee, etc.?
Thanks in advance for advise and recommendations!