Free Windows XP Help - File And Data Backup

What would you do if everything on your PC was suddenly gone?

Think about it. If everything on your PC were to suddenly disappear, would you not care, be a little upset, angry, or out of control crazy? If the answer is anything other than I don't care if I lose all my data then you need to backup your important data, and back it up often!

How Much Important Stuff is in your computer?

Most people have a wide range of files and data on their PC, so if you're like the average user you have at least some of the following on your PC:

  • Checkbook data
  • Personal files such as Microsoft Word documents, Microsoft Excel files, eMail messages, tax data, address lists
  • Music files
  • Movies, home videos, etc
  • Digital Photographs

Don't forget that many programs store their data in proprietary formats, and in 'hidden' locations. For example, Microsoft Outlook Express stores email messages and address lists in several files buried deep in the Program Files folder, or in your Documents and Settings\User Data folder. If you use a program like this, you may need a backup software package that automatically backs up this type of data.

how do i back up my files

Your Data Is At Risk From Many Different Threats!

There are many things that can happen to destroy, delete, or corrupt the files and data on your computer. Here are just a few:

  • Hard disk failure (crash)
  • Viruses
  • Accidental deletion
  • Software failure

It's Easy To Back Up Your Data!

If you only have a small number of files, making a backup can be as simple as copying them onto a floppy drive or flash-memory stick. For larger amounts of data a recordable CDROM or recordable DVD may be necessary.

If you have a lot of data, or if it changes often, it may be necessary to use a PC Backup software package. PC backup software made for Microsoft Windows makes it easy to schedule backups, only back up data that has changed since the last time you did a backup, etc. These full featured backup products aren't free, but they make backing up your Windows PC much easier.

What Back up software should I use?

Before you purchase backup software, make sure you PC does not already have it. Many new computers come with free backup software pre-installed. There are free backup programs available on the internet if you know where to look, but before downloading anything free, be sure that it does not contain any spy-ware. This can be a difficult task unless you trust the company that is offering the software. Most people end up downloading a commercial backup software package or buying one from the local computer software store. Using a commercial backup software program may cost you a few dollars, but it's a great way to ensure that you can easily and reliably get your files backed-up and safe.

How Often To Back Up Your Files

The simple answer to How often do I need to backup my files? is often! The full answer depends on how often your data changes or how often you add new data or files. For most people doing a full backup once every week or two is enough. If you don't use your computer often, or add/change your data, then once every month or two may be enough.

Now My Data Is Backed Up, Where Do I Store It?

Making backups of your data often and throwing the disks into your desk drawer will protect you from hard disk crashes, virus attack, etc, but what if your house catches fire, or there is some other catastrophe?
It's a good idea to keep at least one backup disk "off-site". Store one full backup set in the desk in your office or in your safety deposit box (if you own one). By keeping a copy of your data in a second location you don't have all your eggs in one basket. If the worst should happen, at least you won't lose all of those digital family photos!

For questions, see our forums-post: Backup Sunday!

   

   

Comments

if i back up all my files to a DVD or CD can i restore them on any computer? is it easier if i just use a external hard-drive?

I've done a backup of my files to DVD lots of times and never had a problem reading the files on another computer - just make sure the other computer has a DVD reader! i used Roxio to burn the files.

An external hard drive is faster and easier but if you don't have one, DVD or CDRW is fine.

I burned the "my documents" folder from my old computer onto a disc and now when I try to open that disc on another computer, it doesn't open, it just shows me the "my documents" folder for that computer. How do I see the docs on my disc?

how did you go about burning the CD? what software did you use? did you 'finalize' the disc? it sounds like you didnt properly burn it.

Also, you can easily backup your Yahoo! Photos (if there's any) to CD/DVD disk using Backupr service. You just create your archive via online application (like Nero) and then they send your archive to you via mail. You can even design the label of your CD/DVD (add titles/dates, place photos) to get the archive disk best for you. Please note: at the moment they have at option to Backup CD (up to 2000 photos) for FREE. I don't know how long this will be, though.

Flash The Ripper

I was just reading the post about the hackers that will be messing with myspace in April and that foambrush suggested we backup our profiles.  Anyway, it occurred to me that I've never backed up the files on my computer since I bought it last year.

Never having backed up anything, I did a quick search here and, of course, this wonderful site showed me everything I needed to know and what to look for on my computer to back up my files.  All done!

Thank you GuG!!Kiss

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