I am trying to back up my files off my computer, when I decided to use a flash drive instead, but I need to know if I have to purchase a special type of flash drive, and how much memory, because using a CD/DVD is out of the question
How big (capacity) is depending on what do you try to backup. This can be few GB to the whole size of the HDD of your machine now (which is 320GB 5400RPM hard drive).
My suggestion: but a portable USB 2TB external HDD (cheaper in terms of $/GB) and you can backup few generations of your computer and still have spare space for others.
There are many around from many brands (Toshiba, HP, Samsung, WD, ....). Your machine does not have USB 3.0 port but USB 3.0 external HDD's will work and you can keep for your next computer(s). For example:
It depends on how much capacity of the 320gb hard drive that came with your notebook : has been filled. The used space in the drive may have programs, system files, recovery partition, and your personal files.
I prefer external hard drive to copy the personal files you need to salvage.
Nowadays you'll not be able to see external hard drive <500gb capacity in the market though.
You can alternatively use imaging softwares like Macrium Reflect Free to back up drive image on to your external hard drive.
Which back up program are you using? It would tell you what capacity external storage is needed while you proceed with instructions in it.
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