Backing Up Data at Emerson College

Backing up is the process of copying data for future use in the event that the original data becomes lost, corrupted, or stolen. Additional copies of data are called backups.

How can I back up my data?


Cloud backups get stored on Internet-hosted services such as Google Drive and Box. These backups are accessible from anywhere and are safe from physical damage. At Emerson, we have two primary options for backing up data in the cloud: Google Drive and Box.

  • Google Drive is a great tool for backing up your data. All students, staff, and faculty have unlimited storage space on Google Drive through Emerson. Go to and sign in with your Emerson credentials.
  • Box is another great tool for backing your data and is the only acceptable place for sensitive data. All students, staff, and faculty have 25 GB of storage allocated to their accounts. Go to and sign in with your Emerson credentials along with Duo two-factor authentication.
    • Box also has an app available called Box Drive to help organize and automate your cloud backup. For more information on installing and using this program, visit Box's guides on Box Drive.


Students, don't forget to read Your Account After Graduation to learn more about how your access to these services changes when you graduate.


Local backups get stored on external drives that you connect to your computer. Local backups are the fastest way to copy data but are susceptible to the same causes of damage and loss as the original data. If you cannot access the Internet, or chose to not use a cloud service, you have a couple of options for making local backups.

  • Flash drives are small, highly portable drives that are commonly referred to as pen, thumb, or stick drives. Unlike many other portable drives, Flash drives have no moving parts.

    Note: Do not try to open files and work on them directly from a flash drive! We recommend dragging them to your desktop first and opening them from there. Use the flash drive for backup and transfer.
  • External hard drives are also great for backups, especially if speed is a concern. However, like with your internal disk drive, data can get lost with any malfunction of, or physical damage to, the drive. The size of the drive you buy is entirely up to you, make sure to check the type of ports you have on your computer so it is compatible with the connectivity options on the drive.

Other than local data, what else should I back up?

While they may not be as crucial as losing data, we recommend backing up your browser bookmarks before switching to a new computer. Take a look at Exporting and Importing Browser Bookmarks for instructions.

If you have any questions, please submit a request on our support website.

I have a corrupted hard drive! Can you help?

Hard drives die sometimes. It's a fact of life. When they do, there is a chance that the Emerson IT Help Desk may recover your data. That's not an excuse not to back up your data, but rather it's a small service that we offer on best-effort terms to the Emerson community. We offer the service for both Emerson-owned and personal equipment.

We will only attempt data recovery for a maximum of 1 TB of data. If we recover the data, you must provide a secondary external device with a minimum of double the storage capacity for the data to recover. If unable to provide a secondary external device with adequate capacity, we will not perform the data recovery.  

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