Automate Data Backup with Windows

PERIODIC BACKUPS OF data on your PC are crucial if you don’t want to run the risk of losing all your data. A lot of people use third-party utilities because they are not aware that Windows includes it own backup program. The backup utility built in with Windows XP and Vista is free, handy and reliable. In fact the whole process can take as ten minutes a week and you can let Windows do that for you.

The backup utility will be ready-to-use on an installation of Windows XP Professional edition. In the Home edition, the program has to be installed from the Control Panel’s ‘Add/Remove Windows Components’ applet (keep a Window XP CD ready, for files to be installed from it).Follow the steps below to configure automatic backup in Windows XP:

  1. Click Start, point to All programs=>Accessories=> System Tools, and then click Backup to start the wizard.
  2. Click next to skip opening page, choose Backup files and settings” from the second page, and then click Next. You will see a decision screen: “What do you want to back up?” Here “My documents ad settings” will be a good choice for most people because it backs up all your documents, system settings, start menu settings, Outlook data, etc. If many people use your computer with individual user profiles (or logins) then you can choose “Everyone’s documents and settings”. However, if you select if you select “All information on this computer” the back up file may occupy several gigabytes depending on the installed software and user data. If you have specific files like personal account database or business information which are stored outside your user profile folder, then you can select the “Let me choose what to back up” option. And you can select the required folders or files that you need to back up.
  3. Click Next, to navigate to screen with backup storage settings. Here you can set Backup type, Destination and Backup file name. If your system doesn’t have a backup tape drive, you won’t get a choice for backup type. Don’t worry because the complete backup can be stored as a single file in the specified location with a specified name. The ideal backup location is a different partition of your hard drive from the one you’re backing up.
  4. Click Next after giving location and file name, and then it will display the wizard’s final page. Then click “Finish” for immediate backup. For automatic scheduled backups, click “Advanced” and click Next to open the “When to backup?” screen. Choose “Later”, and then click “Set Schedule to open the “Schedule job” dialog box shown in the above screenshot. Enter the username and password of the in whose name the backup job is to be invoked. The backup utility will then automatically backup your specified data on the desired days and times. After you click “OK” to save your changes, Windows runs the backup automatically. Just remember that the computer should be kept ON at the scheduled time of the week. You should remember to write the copy of your backup file in to a CD in a periodic time interval (once in a month or so) to avoid data loss, if full hard disk failure happens. The backup file can be restored to its original locations using the same utility. Select “Restore files and settings” from the second screen of the wizard.

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