Backing Up: What Are the Best Solutions For You?               

Backing up your important documents and files is vital and there are various ways to do so. Computers will always eventually fail and often this will happen when you least expect it. We recommend backing up data at least once a week.

Common Backup Options

Size Range
Ease of Use
Archive Quality*
External Hard Drive
Stores lots of data; semi-portable
128GB - 4TB
Flash Drive
Plug into any computer with a USB port; very convenient
1GB - 128GB
Cloud Storage (e.g., DropBox, OneDrive).
Automatically backed up; usually provides plenty of space.

 *Archive quality denotes the ability of the media to be used as a long-term (many years or decades) archival medium for data.

Additional Considerations

Cloud Storage on Penn+Box

The University provides the Penn+Box service, in partnership with, for all Penn students. If you would like to activate a Penn+Box account, please review the following information:

  1. Each Penn+Box account includes 50 GB storage on a secure cloud server.    
  2. You must activate your Box account at 
  3. The Box Login uses a separate set of credentials (note the different email address):
    • email address:
    • Login: Pennkey username
    • Password:  Pennkey password
    • Log into Box using the credentials above
    • Click the Circle icon with your name in the upper right of the screen
    • Choose Account Settings and scroll down to the Login and Email Addresses section.
    • Click Add Email, and enter your Wharton address
    • Log in to your Wharton email account, and follow the steps in the Verification email. (There may be a delay; please wait a few minutes. If it doesn't come, you can click the Resend Confirmation email link in Penn+Box.)

  • App Version 
    There is an app version available for Box.  To log in to the app, select the Company Credentials option and enter the Penn email address that Box associates with your account (  You will then be prompted to enter your PennKey username and password.  After you log in, you will be prompted to enter a passcode that you set specifically for Box

Hard Drives

  • There's a variety of inexpensive external hard drives available.
  • Many external hard drives come pre-loaded with software to schedule automatic backups. 
  • Mac computers come with a program called Time Machine, which backs up up your data to another place on your hard drive.

Flash Drives

  • Convenient, but easy to lose.
  • Works with any computer that has a USB port.
  • Widely available for sale at sizes starting at 1GB.
  • Also know as a thumb-drive, Jump Drive, or memory key.

*Adapted with permission from