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Can A Backup Drive Double As Additional Storage?

One of the most common methods for home backup is to store everything on an external hard drive. Hard drives only continue to fall in price and in size, while simultaneously growing in capacity. This makes them a great choice for the average consumer looking to have a secondary copy of all their precious data.

Of course, now is a good time to point out that the above scenario isn’t actually the best backup you can do. If your house is struck by a natural disaster (like a fire or flood) or theft, there’s nothing to stop both your original data and your backup drive being destroyed or stolen. Having the secondary copy of your data offsite is likely to be more secure, but it’s understandable that it isn’t always possible to do so. At the very least, put your backup drive in a different room to your main storage unit if you can.

Regardless, you might be wondering whether your backup drive can double up as additional storage space. It’s often wise to buy a bigger drive than you think you might need, just because it’ll be more future proof – who knows how much data you could be storing down the line. However, having all that spare external storage lying around can often lead to temptations of using it as additional storage, especially if your main device is low on space.

So, can you use that backup drive to hold some extra data? The simple answer is yes, you can. There’s nothing to stop you doing so and your backup can still run even if there’s other data on the drive. The real question is whether you should do it. And the answer to that is no.

There are a few reasons for this. First of all, you should never just have a single copy of your data if you want to have an efficient backup plan. There’s no use backing up some data and leaving other essential items with only a single copy. As a solution, it then might be tempting to back up this overflow data onto the same external drive. Frankly, this is pointless. If the drive fails then both copies of the data are likely to go down with it.

If you have an external drive that is being used for backup, keep it like that. If you are running low on internal storage space, consider replacing it with a larger one or installing a second drive. If this isn’t possible, perhaps you’re using a laptop or you lack the technical know-how, buy another external drive; one will act as the backup drive, the other as the overflow. For ease of use it’s better to keep everything internal if possible, but there’s nothing wrong with having multiple external drives if needs be.

If opting to use two external drives, ensure that the backup drive is at least the same size as the other two drives combined, else you might find yourself running out of space.


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