Knowledge Base

10755: Backup or Restore - External Data Storage Device


How do I back up and restore Drake Tax by using a USB flash drive, or other external data storage device? 


Backing up your Drake Tax files to an external drive is good disaster insurance. A USB drive can be removed and stored away from your computer, so that a local accident that disables your computer (such as surge, fire or water damage) will not damage your backup files. If you alternate daily backups between two USB drives, you can keep a current backup offsite at all times.

The process detailed below can also be used to move your client files to a computer that is not on your network. On the receiving computer, open the same year of Drake in which you created the backup, and restore it from the storage device.

Drake Tax can directly back up to and restore from a USB Mass Storage Device (“USB Drive,” “thumb drive,” “flash drive,” “memory stick,” etc.).

  • Flash drives are normally slower than your hard drive.
    - For a large backup job, you will save time by backing up your Drake Tax files to your hard drive and then copying the Drake backup folder from your hard drive to your flash drive.
    - When restoring a large number of files, it will be quicker to copy the backup folder from your flash drive to your hard drive, and restore from the hard drive.
  • To prevent lost data and possible damage, be sure to safely remove a the USB drive by clicking on the USB icon in your system tray and selecting "Safely Remove Hardware."
  • If your USB/Flash drive is write protected or full, you may receive an error - use a different backup device. 
  • Beginning in 2012, Drake Software instituted a client file structure that contains PDF files as well as archives and the data file. Backups may take longer to finish. You may want to back up clients and setup files separately.


  1. Insert the USB drive in the USB port, if it is not already installed.
  2. Confirm that the USB drive is visible in This PC (this may be listed as Computer or My Computer depending on your OS).
  3. Open Drake.
  4. Go to Tools > File Maintenance > Backup     .
  5. Select your backup location:
    • Starting in Drake16, in the Manual One-Time Backup section, check the box Back up to local or network location.
    • In Drake15 and prior, click the button Select a backup location.
  6. Browse to and select your USB drive, then click OKThe USB drive is displayed as the backup location.
  7. Configure your backup:
    • Starting in Drake16, select Perform full backup and Include DD Archive Cabinet (optional) or Selective Backup.
    • In Drake15 and prior, check the box All File Types for a full backup, or Setup Files, System Files, and/or Client Files for a selective backup. For more specific backup needs, click Advanced.
  8. Click the Backup button to proceed.
  9. When the backup is complete, you are notified.
  10. Close or Exit the backup screen.


  1. Insert the USB drive containing the backup in the USB port, if it is not already installed.
  2. Confirm that the USB drive is visible in This PC (this may be listed as Computer or My Computer depending on your OS).
  3. Open Drake Tax.
  4. Go to Tools > File Maintenance > Restore.
  5. Select the backup location.
    • Beginning in Drake16, in the Restore section of the screen, select Local or network location and choose your USB drive as the Restore Location
    • In Drake15 and prior, select the USB drive as the Location to restore files from
  6. Choose the backup that you want to restore: 
    • Beginning in Drake16, Select backup to restore - the backup will show as either Manual or Automatic backup and include the date and time that the backup was made. 
    • In Drake15 and prior, Select folder to restore from - choose the date of the backup that needs to be restored. 
  7. Select a restoration type: 
    • Beginning in Drake16, click Preview under Select files to restore. Select which files should be restored. 
    • In Drake15 and prior, choose either Restore All Files in Folder or Restore Select Files in Folder.
  8. After selecting the files to be restored, click Restore

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