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How to make a backup

Some people think they don’t need to backup their computers, some people don’t know how to and think it is difficult. Others are of the opinion that their computers just don’t need it.

Well they are all wrong.

You may not think there is anything important on your computer but… what about those wedding photos or baby photos or holiday photos? What about that complaint letter you wrote to (insert company here)? What about that email you got from (insert relative or long lost friend here)? What is that weird noise I’ve been hearing from the computer, could it be the hard drive failing?

You get the point yet?

As far as it being difficult… that’s why you are reading this.

Ok let’s get started.

First off, you do not need to backup every single file on your computer. For example, you don’t need to back up Windows, you probably don’t need to back up your Word processing program. Why you ask? Because you have the installation disks for those things and can easily reinstall them. What you do need to back up is the stuff that you have created, your data files.

Now for some years Microsoft has been trying to help you make this process easier (and you didn’t even notice it), they have been guiding you towards organising your files so that they are all located where they can easily be backed up. In Windows XP it is the My Documents, My Pictures and My Music folders In Vista they made it easiesr again by having a folder with your name on it and then organising those folders under that one. In Windows 7 they have created Libraries.

Hopefully you have been keeping to this system (without even knowing that you were using a system). If not then this is the time you need to start organising your files and folders, adopt the system that Microsoft have provided you with and move your data accordingly.

This will make it easier to automate your backups, so take the time and just do it.

Now for the backup process itself.

Windows XP

You are going to need to check and see if the backup utility is already installed on your computer, in some versions of XP it was not.

So go to Start > Run and type in ntbackup.exe and click OK

If you receive an error saying “Windows cannot find ‘ntbackup.exe'” then you will have to install the program from your Windows XP CD.

To do this, insert your Windows XP CD in your CD drive.
Click EXIT if it starts to run the install program
On the CD navigate to the Drive:\ValueAdd\Msft\Ntbackup folder
Double-click the Ntbackup.msi file which will install the utility
Click Finish when prompted.
Remove the Windows XP CD

Now you should be able to go to Start > Run and type in ntbackup.exe and click OK

Click Next
Select Backup files and settings, click Next
If you have taken the time to organise your hard drive as previously suggested, then you can just choose My Documents and settings.
Otherwise you can choose Everyone’s documents and settings (if there are multiple accounts and everone is organised)
Or All information
Or Let me choose what to back up
I will assume that you are not organised and will choose Let me choose what to back up
Click Next
Select the files you want to backup by checking the boxes next to then (expand the folders by clicking on the plus signs as necessary).
Click Next
Click Browse and pick a place to save your backup
You can name the file whatever you like
Then Click Next to start the backup

Windows Vista

Click Start > Control Panel
Double click on Backup and Restore Center
Click on Backup files
Click Continue on the User Account Control prompt
Select the destination for your back up file to be stored
Click Next
Select all the categories of files you want to backup
Click Next
Create a schedule for backup
Click Save settings and start backup

That wasn’t too difficult was it?

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