Your new computer probably includes USB 2.0 ports – physically identical to USB 1.1 ports, but capable of transferring data at much higher speeds.

One interesting way to use them is to buy an external hard drive. Like everything else, external drives have been dropping in price. With USB 2.0, the external drives work at the same speed as an internal drive.

The Maxtor Personal Storage 3000LE is a good example – 120Gb for just under $200.

This opens up an effective way to back up your entire hard drive. Use the backup program built in to Windows XP Professional and back up your hard drive to the external drive. Fast, easy, and effective. (Windows XP Home Edition comes with the same backup program, but it’s hidden on the CD. See my notes for help finding it!) Or get BackupMyPC and have more control over the backups and their schedule.