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Friday, February 12, 2010

How to Back Up Your Computer

Protecting your computer is very important.  We keep treasured photos, important documents, and more stored on our PCs these days, and the simple fact is that all it takes is a single power surge, hard drive crash, or virus to create a massive and permanent data loss.  Backing up your computer is a necessary step, and it can be completed quite easily.  This article will walk you through the basic steps of backing up a computer so that you can ensure that all of your treasured and needed files are kept safe.

If you run Windows XP or a later operating system, you will likely be quite surprised to learn just how simple backing up your computer can be.  You will not need to buy any additional software or hardware, and instead will need only writable CDs, DVDs, a flash drive, or an external hard drive. 

With Windows XP, you will need to place the OS disk into the hard drive.  When taken to the welcome screen, you will select Perform Additional Tasks, followed by Browse this CD.  Windows Explorer will be a selectable option, and you will choose the ValueAdd folder, followed by MSFT and Ntbackup.  When this folder has been opened, simply choose Ntbackup.msi (a Microsoft installer file) and the backup utility will be placed onto your computer.  For Windows XP professional, the backup utility can be found in the System Tools menu of your Accessories list when choosing All Programs from the Start menu.

If you have Windows Vista, your Backup and Restore Center can be accessed by choosing System and Maintenance and then Back Up Your Computer from the Control Panel.  With Windows 7, it can be found by selecting Backup and Restore from the System and Security area of your Control Panel.  Both operating systems allow you to choose to perform automatic backups of your data or a complete backup including the operating system.  You will be able to choose where your files will be backed up as well as how often a new copy should be created.

If you do not use these operating systems, you can still back up your computer.  To save only certain files, you can simply right click these files and select Copy and then Paste them into a folder on an external hard drive or on a folder that can be burned to CD.  If you need to backup your entire system, additional software that can create a ghost image of your hard drive to be burned to CD or stored on an external device will be needed. 

Backing up your computer is surprisingly easy and takes only a little bit of time.  When you are able to keep your files safe and protected, you will find that you do not worry as much when storms affect your area or when your computer starts to show signs of slowing.  Restoring your PC after a backup can be quite easy and the backup process can be all it takes to keep your PC and your data protected.


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