406 Automatically see the contents of your backup drive

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You plug in your overnight backup drive, but nothing happens on your computer screen. What’s going on?

usb portable drive

 

I’ve set up backups for hundreds of client computers. Once it’s configured, it’s an easy 3-step process:

  1. At night when you’re done with the computer, plug in the backup drive and watch the window come up on the screen to show you what’s on that drive.
  2. The next morning, check that same window and make sure there’s a new date, which means that the backup happened overnight.
  3. Unplug the drive and use the computer.

That’s all you have to do. Overnight, the backup software backs up everything on your computer (including your installed software).

But sometimes, a client might hit a snag in step 1. They plug in the backup drive, but nothing happens. The window that’s supposed to open (showing what’s on that backup drive) never opens. What then?

No worries. This is just a setting that sometimes gets inadvertently changed (often when Windows Updates come in).

In Windows 10, here’s how to fix this:

First, unplug the backup drive.

Next, click the Start button, then click on the “gear” icon (Settings).

Click on Devices, then in the next window look in the left column and click on AutoPlay.

Make sure AutoPlay is turned on, and then in each of the drop-down menus below, choose “Open folder to view files”.

Close all the windows, and now plug in your backup drive. You’ll see that window open up just like it’s supposed to.

In Windows 11, it’s a similar process:

Click the Start button, then Settings.

On the left side, click on Bluetooth and Devices.

Find and click on AutoPlay, and set all options to “Open folders to view files”.

Plug in the backup drive and all should work properly.

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