Carbonite Support > Backing Up Files on External H...

Our product offerings have been renamed. Carbonite Home Backup is now Carbonite Safe Backup, and Carbonite Office Backup is now Carbonite Safe Backup Pro.

Backing Up Files on External Hard Drives

You can use Carbonite to back up an external hard drive (in NTFS or FAT32 format) that is directly connected to your computer by USB. By selecting the contents of the external drive, Carbonite backs up the files just like other files on your computer.

Windows File Explorer: Right-click Back this up

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Backup Requirements

Plan Requirements

Depending on your Carbonite plan, you can select internal and external hard drives for backup.

Please see the chart below for the drives that are supported under each plan.

Amount of Drives
Carbonite PlanOne InternalOne ExternalTwo or More
Safe BasicCheckmark
Safe PlusCheckmarkCheckmark
Safe PrimeCheckmarkCheckmark
Safe Core Checkmark
Safe Power Checkmark
Safe Ultimate Checkmark

Drive Requirements

SD cards, flash drives, shared drives, and remotely located devices are not supported.
  1. The drive must be in working condition.
  2. The drive must be directly connected to the computer by USB.
  3. The drive must be in FAT32 or NTFS format.
How to Select an External Hard Drive for Backup

Depending on your Carbonite plan, you can select external hard drives for backup the same way as files and folders.

  1. Click the Windows Start button.
  2. Open File Explorer.
  3. Navigate to This PC.
    • In other versions of Windows, it could be called Computer or My Computer.
  4. Find the external hard drive.
    • If you do not see the drive, safely remove it from the computer and re-connect it. If you still do not see it, review the Backup Requirements section.
  5. Right-click the external hard drive and click Carbonite; Back this up.
Windows File Explorer: Right-click Back this up

File Exclusions

If you select multiple files at once, you may receive a message stating that system, program, temporary and / or video files will not be included automatically.

Carbonite Window: The drive or folder you've selected for backup may contain some files and folders that won't be backed up automatically (e.g., system, program, temporary, and / or video files). You can add any individual file to your backup by right-clicking on it and selecting Back this up.

These files are not included by default for the following reasons:

  • System and program files would be best restored from the installation files provided by the vendor.
  • Temporary files exist for a short amount of time and cannot be restored in a meaningful or useful state.
  • Videos are excluded on Carbonite Safe Basic plans.

Generally, these files do not need to be backed up. After a computer failure, it is best to reinstall the operating system than restore system files from the backup. Similarly, programs are best to be reinstalled from the original vendor’s media (CD/DVD/EXE). Personal files are not affected by these exclusions. The advantages of these exclusions are:

  • Backups are less likely to fail – a common cause of backup failure is selecting large or problematic system, program, and temporarily files. Excluding these files by default reduces this risk.
  • Backup/Restore speeds are quicker – by selecting only what is important the time it takes to upload/download the files is reduced.

While some files are excluded to improve the performance of your backup, you can add files individually for backup by navigating to the file, right-clicking the file for backup and click Carbonite; Back this up.

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