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Faster Computer Back Up

Get faster backups with your desktop computer

FH15MAY_BUCPTR_01-2Family Handyman
If you buy a new backup hard drive, chances are it'll have an ultra-fast USB 3.0 interface. But if you plug it into your old desktop PC with a USB 2.0 port, it'll run at half speed and your backups will take longer. The good news is you can probably upgrade your desktop to USB 3.0 for about $30. Here's how.

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How to back up your computer faster

Photo 1: Identify a PCI-E slot

Find an empty slot and count the number of terminals in front of the spacer bar. If the slot has 22 terminals, a space bar and is followed by at least 14 more terminals, it’s a PCI-E slot.

Photo 2: Install the USB 3.0 card

Connect an anti-static strap between your wrist and the computer chassis. Then remove the metal slot ‘blank’ from the rear of the case. Next, slide the USB 3.0 card into the slot and secure the metal card bracket to the chassis with a screw.

Photo 3: Install the front panel

Pop out the plastic filler plate from the front of the computer. Then slide in the new panel and secure with screws. Connect the cables to the USB 3.0 card and reinstall the side cover.

If you buy a new backup hard drive, chances are it’ll have an ultra-fast USB 3.0 interface. But if you plug it into your old desktop PC with a USB 2.0 port, it’ll run at half speed and your backups will take longer. The good news is you can probably upgrade your desktop to USB 3.0 for about $30. Here’s how.

Open the computer and look for an empty PCI-E slot (Photo 1). If you find one, buy a USB 3.0 PCI-E peripheral card (one choice is the Anker Uspeed PCI-E to USB 3.0 with 20-pin connector; $19 at amazon.com). If you want to access the high-speed ports from the front of the machine and have an empty drive bay, buy a USB 3.0 front panel (such as the Anker 3.5 inch Front Panel 2 USB 3.0 Ports; $10 at amazon.com).

Install the PCI-E card (Photo 2) and the USB front panel (Photo 3). Then fire up the computer and install the software drivers that came with the card.