Backing up your data is the single most important thing you can do as a computer user. Often, we don’t realize the importance of backing up regularly – until the computer has crashed and you suddenly find yourself without access to vital files in your computer. No matter who you are – a home computer user or a professional, BACKUP!
Windows has a Backup tool just for the purpose – you can access it from
Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Backup
When you click on the Backup utility, you will get a screen that looks like this:
Note that you have the option to start up either of the two wizards – if you wish to backup your data, let’s choose the simplest option – the Backup wizard – Once you start the wizard and click on Next – you will get a screen that looks like the image given below:
Choose from the list of options here – and remember, you can but you always don’t have to select the option which says “All information on this computer” – instead consider carefully what are the files important to you – ideally backing up the My Documents and settings should be a good option for general users. If other people in the family also use the computer you can select Everyone’s Documents and Settings. You also have the option of manually choosing what to backup. Select the options depending on the importance of the data and the amount of backup space you have available.
The Next step in the wizard is to give a name to your backup file and choose where to backup your data:
All backup files will have the extension .bkf by default – but you can use any other extension, if you wish.
Under Choose a place to save your backup – it would not be a good idea to save it in a floppy drive – because it just would not have enough space to accommodate it. The best place would be a different partition on your computer’s Hard disk drive or an external Hard disk drive. Once you have selected the location to save the backup to, give a name to your backup file – an ideal name would be one that would indicate that date the backup was taken. Having done that, click on the Next button and let your computer take care of the rest.
Restoring data from a backup taken this way is just as simple as starting up the Backup utility and selecting Restore Files and Settings and just follow the on-screen instructions. You will have to first browse to the location of the backup file you have created, select it and then click on the Start Restore button. It would be best if you would just let it restore to the original location.
Apart from backing up your data, it would not be a bad idea to backup your system files as well. But of course, you can work around this if you have your Windows XP installation disk.