5 Best External Hard Drives with Backup Software in 2021

Many users buy an external hard drive for backing up files that they already have. This is a great way to go about ensuring that your files are safe so that in the event of a disk failure, recovering files will be easy.

Simply copying and pasting files isn’t enough. With a backup software, you’ll be able to make better backups of your files without missing some or having unnecessary duplicates.

Here we look at the best external hard drives with backup software that can handle the task of backing up your files.

The fortunate aspect about these hard drives is that they are not any more expensive than the options with no backup software.

List of Best External Hard Drives with Backup Software in 2021

The following hard drives all feature backup software.

  1. Seagate Backup Plus (Slim)– Durable, USB 3.0, Auto Backups – Recommended Hard Drive with Backup Software
  2. WD My Passport Portable – Portable HDD with Large Storage Capacity
  3. Buffalo MiniStation Extreme – NFC, Rugged and water-resistant
  4. WD My Book – Has large storage With USB3.0
  5. Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD – Portable 540MB/s External SSD

1. Seagate Backup Plus Slim – Recommended Hard Drive with Backup Software

Seagate Backup Plus

Recommended portable 2.5″ drive with backup feature. Has a slim profile

When looking for the best external hard drive with backup software, the Seagate Backup plus comes up as a very portable and affordable choice.

While the 5TB version is quite bulky, it’s still small enough to carry around without feeling like you’re doing a chore.

The storage capacity you get is great for making backups of large volumes of pictures and videos from your computer’s main drive.

The drive is compatible with both Windows and macOS and a simple reformat will allow you to make full use of it in any OS environment. You may need to reformat it to use it with Time Machine, Apple’s backup software.

You also get a software that allows you to perform or schedule automatic backups at your preferred interval, giving you the chance to keep all your files and their backups in sync.

The brushed metal enclosure gives it extra durability while keeping it looking modern and stylish. Aside from that, the drive has a USB 3.0 interface for connecting to computers.

2. WD My Passport Portable – Portable HDD with Large Storage Capacity

WD My Passport

One of the most popular external hard drive with backup software.

The Passport line of Western Digital hard drives are known for their reliability and performance. The WD Passport Portable lives up to this by being a high capacity external storage option for users.

It is easy to set up and use and when it comes to performing backups, users get to use the Western Digital Discovery software from WD.

With this, the drive can perform automatic backups or you could schedule when you’d like to perform the backups yourself.

The drive is portable and comes with a USB 3.0 interface that supports USB 2.0 so it’s possible to use it on any computer, of course with some reformatting when necessary.

You get decent performance with this drive and can expect speeds of up to 130MB/s which is fine for most tasks like copying files and performing backups.

With password protection activated, you can keep your backups safe from prying eyes and ensure that upon loss, your files don’t get accessed by unauthorized people.

It’s affordable and secure and that makes this one of the best external hard drive with backup software.

3. Buffalo MiniStation Extreme – NFC, Rugged and Water-Resistant

Buffalo MiniStation Extreme

A ruggedized external hard drive with NFC file sharing technology.

The Buffalo MiniStation Extreme implements security in an easy-to-use fashion. Instead of having to key in a password, you can unlock the device for use via NFC with the help of a card that they also supply.

This ensures that only the holder of the card can access the drive and if you ever lose it, your files will remain encrypted.

Besides that, you get a USB 3.0 interface that works with most computers that run Windows and macOS (after reformatting).

The device comes with an integrated cable that can be useful for people who tend to forget to bring their USB cable. It wraps around the edges of the device so that it doesn’t get in the way when not in use.

A great feature of the drive is its dust and water resistance. Hence, accidental spills and splashes will not cause you to lose your backups. Its rugged exterior also helps with cushioning the drive’s internals from shocks.

The drive is quite expensive, but considering its features its one of the best external hard drive with backup software.

4. WD My Book – Has Large Storage With USB3.0

WD My Book

A large 3.5″ desktop external hard drive with huge storage capacity.

If you just want a hard drive that you can back up your files on and leave it at home or in the office then you can opt for a desktop drive.

These tend to have very large storage capacities and the WD My Book External is no exception.

It comes with large sizes ranging from 4TB all the way to 14TB and is ideal for users who have a large volume of files that need storage. Because of its size, carrying it around won’t be ideal.

Out of the box, the drive comes formatted with NTFS. You also get a USB 3.0 interface with support for USB2.0 on older computers.

This gives you decent performance that will come in handy when copying files to the drive.

This product comes with the WD Backup software that lets you configure how you’d like your backups to be handled, including setting a schedule. Once formatted for Mac, you can also use Apple Time Machine to make backups of your files.

Its large volume of storage makes this the best external hard drive with backup software.

5. Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD – Portable 540MB/s External SSD

Seagate Barracuda

A slim and portable external SSD with backup feature and transfer rate of 540 MB/s.

When what you want in an external hard drive is high performance, you should consider an SSD. These tend to perform better than HDDs and they have gotten a lot cheaper.

The Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD is the best external hard drive with backup software for speed lovers. It offers impressive performance with speeds of about 540MB/s/

Creating backups will be very fast and so will restoring your files be. It comes in storage capacities that range from 500GB to 2TB and it’s quite costly.

With a USB type C cable, you can connect to this drive and move your files around seamlessly. You get a backup software that keeps your files on the computer and those on the external drive synched.

The software also supports folder mirroring and makes it easier to restore your files whenever you need to.

With this portable SSD, you can take your backups with you wherever you go and you can quickly and safely browse the files on it thanks to its Windows and Mac compatibility. Its great performance and unique design make it a great drive to have.


What is an External Drive with Backup Software?

Hard drives are no longer just basic file storage devices. They come with a variety of features that will make using them much more efficient, easier and more secure.

When it comes to making backups of your files, external hard drives implement various programs to keep the process as simple and transparent as possible.

Backup Software

Backup software help in securing your files by making copies of specified files from the main drive to the backup drive, in this case, an external hard drive.

Instead of having to do this yourself, the software itself keeps track of the changes needed and when a new file is created in the main drive, the software creates a backup for the same.

It keeps all the files up-to-date for you depending on how you set it up so that in the event of accidental deletion, an overwrite or a loss of either of the drives, you can restore the files quickly.

Benefits of a Hard Drive with Backup Software

With a backup software, you will be able to make better backups of the files you specify. Some of the software can keep tabs of the different versions of different files, allowing you to restore from a specific snapshot in the backup.

The software can be configured to carry out automatic backups at a given time instead of the user having to do it themselves. Additionally, the user may forget or miss something important.

Auto vs Manual Backup

Some backup software can be configured to make backups at certain intervals automatically. They won’t need any human intervention and they will back up all the files specified.

If this goes unchecked you may end up backing up files you didn’t intend to store and wind up filling the hard drive faster than expected.

Manual backups have their flaws as well. For starters, your backups will not always contain the most recent files. This means that if your main drive fails, you may end up missing some vital files.

Other Backup Strategies

Backup software in an external drive helps you keep your main drive’s files safe. However, if you need to ensure even more reliability, RAID (Redundant Array of Independent/Inexpensive Disk) can be a great solution.

For example, With RAID 1, you can copy your entire external drive onto another disk to minimize the chances of data loss due to a critical failure.

RAID is generally considered the best solution for backing up your PC. It must be noted that RAID controllers can be bought separately.

Using Third Party Backup Software

Google Backup
You can also use third party cloud backup service like Google Drive Backup. However, cloud storage is very expensive particularly for large data.

If your external hard drive does not come equipped with a backup software, you can invest in a third party software to handle the backing up for you.

These backup software can sometimes cost you upfront but many are available for free.

You can check out more information on backup software here.

How to Choose the Right External Hard Drive for Backing Up

There are many different types of external hard drives that you can choose. From large 3.5″ desktop external hard drive to very slim and portable M.2 SSDs. They all have their merit and de-merits.

Let us review the salient features of each type in brief.

3.5″ HDD

Desktop Hard Drive
Desktop hard drives are large and require an external power source but they are the cheapest. Source: LaCie d2

3.5″, or desktop external hard drives, are large, bulky and require a separate power source to operate. Meaning you cannot just plug them in via the USB port and operate them. You need to have them plugged in to the wall socket.

These external hard drives have the highest capacity and also the best GB/ dollar value.

Hence if you are looking for a large storage solution at a budget, these hard disks are the way to go.

2.5″ HDD

2.5″ HDDs are your average portable and slim HDD that do not require an external power source to operate. These hard disks are portable have as fast a speed as the 3.5″ drives.

However, if you take per GB value, they are more expensive than their larger 3.5″ variants.


Best External Hard Drives with Backup Software
External SSD hard drives for backup are great, but they are expensive. Source: Seagate Barracuda Fast

SATA SSDs are expensive. However, they are very fast. Even the slowest one is almost 5 times as fast as an average HDD making them as excellent solution for power user.

If you want to backup very large files and very often and also retrieve files from you hard drive of ten, then we recommend investing in an SSD.

Of course, you have to gauge the value yourself.


You can also get very slim external hard drive the offer the M.2 form factor. These are among the slimmest and the smallest class of SSD available.

M.2 SSDs are available as SATA and NVME types. SATA SSDs generally have a speed of 500 MB/s. NVME SSDs can reach up to 3.5 GB/s. However, due to the USB bottleneck, an NVME SSD will not perform to it maximum potential when connected to the USB port.

They perform to their best performance only when connected to the PCIe slots.

While they are great to have and are portable, they may not be the best solution if backing up is your primary requirement. They are expensive.

Final Words

In this article we looked at some of the best external hard drives with backup software. We looked at large and small hard disks as well as looked at some of the SSDs that offer this function.

If you have critical work or data stored on your PC that you cannot afford to loose, then backing up is highly recommended. You can set a certain time or date for the backup to occur so that it does not interfere with your work.

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