How to Backup a PC
by Marisa Pellegrino
Everyone thinks, ‘it won’t happen to me’. But
what if it does? All your files, pictures and documents gone, in
an instant. Sure, you can reach for the disks that came with your
computer to reinstall the applications but what about the most important
component, your data? Data backup is something too many computer
There are a number of things that can bring down your computer,
some of which include a power surge, hard drive crash, careless
mistakes, viruses, a fire or theft.
If your system did not come with a recovery disc, you should consider
making a backup disc as soon as possible. This is important should
you ever need to rebuild your system to its “as bought”
How often you back up your data varies from person to person. It
depends on the volume of data input, frequency of change, and the
nature of your data. A general rule of thumb would be to back up
anything that would be difficult and time-consuming to re-create.
How to backup data:
If you have Windows XP, it includes backup software; however, if
you’re running on Home Edition, it isn’t installed by
default. Once the software is installed, go to the Start menu and
choose “accessories”, then “system tools”,
then “backup” in order to run the backup wizard. On
the final screen, you can press the “advanced” button
which will allow you to automatically schedule recurring backups.
The wizard also allows you to create a system recovery disc which
will enable you to boot and rescue your data should Windows get
damaged. At the end of this article, you will find a list of programs
and software that can do the data backup for you.
You may think you’d like to back up everything you have in
your computer. However, there is no need to back up software and
applications since these can be reinstalled with the original discs.
Most Windows programs now have a default for storing data within
your user profile.
There are a number of programs that perform data backup for you,
some of which are described here. Ghost 9.0 creates
full drive images, IBackup copies files to remote
databases, and Dantz’s Retrospect Professional 6.5
is a traditional backup tool. There is also free software available
for data backup. For instance, Backup4 protects
your data and features an easy backup wizard that allows you to
schedule backups whenever you like. Disk Tools Image Maker
is an easy-to-use disk imaging tool which allows you to create exact
images of your entire drive. It works directly from within Windows
so there is no need to boot from a floppy. Handy Backup
is another software which makes an automatic backup of critical
data to any type of storage medium.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind regarding data backup:
Don’t procrastinate. Most people decide to back up their
data only after they’ve experienced a loss!
Try to find a backup software that can hold twice as much as your
hard disk so that you’re able to schedule backups when you’re
Back up only what is necessary. However, if you’re not sure,
back it up ... better safe than sorry!
About the Author
Marisa Pellegrino is a freelance writer from Montreal and is the
head researcher and content manager for RAID
RECOVERY and other sites.