Whether or not you take steps to protect yourself, there will always be a possibility that something will happen to destroy your data. You have probably already experienced this at least once – losing one or
more files due to an accident, a virus or worm, a natural event, or a problem with your equipment. Regularly backing up your data on a CD or network reduces the stress and other negative consequences that result
from losing important information. Determining how often to back up your data is a personal decision. If you are constantly adding or changing data, you may find weekly backups to be the best alternative;
if your content rarely changes, you may decide that your backups do not need to be as frequent. You don’t need to back up software that you own on CD-ROM or DVD-ROM; you can reinstall the software from the
original media if necessary.
If you’ve used most any computer for any length of time, you likely don’t need to be told why you must back up your data: because if you don’t, you may lose it irretrievably. Windows Vista is arguably more stable than any other version of Windows yet released, but Windows Vista itself can still crash, as can any program running on it. If Windows or a program crashes, you will lose unsaved data. Even if all your software is stable, your data is at risk from several other threats, of which the following are the most frequent repeat offenders:
If your hard drive develops bad sectors or gets corrupted, you can lose anything from a file to all your files. Or your computer may get physically damaged: Laptops can get dropped, spilled on, or baked or frozen when left in cars. Desktop computers usually avoid such trials of gravity, precipitation, and thermodynamics but are threatened by the attention of children, pets, and worse.
Even if you use an uninterruptible power supply UPS to protect against power outages, severe electrical storms or disruptions can still damage your computer.
Viruses, worms, and other malware
Even if you always use antivirus software and firewalls to protect your computer from as many threats as possible, you may run into a virus, worm, or other type of malware that damages your data.
You or another user may overwrite or delete files, deliberately or by accident.
Theft and vandalism
Whether at work, at home, on the road, or in the air, your computer could be stolen. Even if you use a third-party encryption solution to secure your data against prying eyes, you’ll still need a backup so that you can get at it. The only reason for not backing up your data is if you’re prepared to lose everything on your computer at a moment’s notice. For example, say you keep a computer set aside for playing games or for testing buggy software, and you never put any valuable data on it. You might then be prepared to reinstall Windows and all applications from scratch at any point.
If you’re using Windows in your home business, backing up your files is even more vital for a couple of reasons:
1. You may be obliged to keep records of your business for a certain number of years.
2. However humble they may seem to you – a customer database in Address Book, spreadsheets in Works or Excel workbooks containing income and expenses, pending orders in Access, proposals in Word or WordPad – those ﬁles are probably even more vital to your business than you imagine.
A survey conducted by McGladrey and Pullen, LLP, a ﬁrm of UK accountants, found that any company that’s unable to get at its data for 10 days will never recover fully, and 43 percent of them will go out of business sooner or later.
What to Back Up
There’s a temptation to back up everything on your computer, so that, if needed, you could restore it to the state it was in before the problem occurred with your computer or your data. But there’s not much sense in doing this, because some of the files on your computer are essentially useless and others are easily replaceable. For example, there’s no sense in backing up your paging file or your hibernation file, because they don’t contain any data that you can actually use.
And if you still have your Windows installation DVD or installation source files, you can reinstall your operating system files easily.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to back up your data files – the information you’ve created – and your configuration files, but not the system files and program files that you can easily reinstall from CD or DVD. Backup Status and Configuration does let you back up just about all the data on your computer, but you won’t want to do this frequently, because it takes a long time and requires capacious backup media. In most cases, you’ll do better to craft a strategy of regular complete backups with frequent incremental backups that will provide near-total cover of the files you’ve sweated over. That means backing up your data files and configuration files. Backup Status and Configuration makes this process fairly easy, but you can help make it
even easier by arranging your folders suitably for backup. In particular, keep your documents in a separate folder structure than your program files, as Windows encourages you to do and as most Windows guidelines–compliant programs also suggest.
When to Back Up Your Data
Back up your data regularly and frequently enough that you never expose yourself to the chance of losing more data than you can recreate comfortably and easily. If you use your computer mostly for e-mail and entertainment, you might be comfortable backing it up only once a week or once every couple of weeks. If you use your computer for business, you might want to back it up every day, or even every few hours. Instead of performing ultra-frequent backups, you may prefer to manually copy your current working documents to a removable medium such as a USB key drive or a CD recorder running packet-writing
software every few hours. Doing so can be quicker and easier than running backup software.
Understanding Different Types of Backups
Windows files have an archive bit that can be set on or off to indicate the backup status of the file. When the archive bit is on, the file needs backing up; when the bit is off, the file doesn’t need backing up. Most backup operations set the archive bit to the off position once they’ve backed up the file. The next time program changes a file, it sets the archive bit to the on position again, so the backup program knows that the file needs to be backed up once more. The normal form of backup is to simply copy all the files and
folders to the backup medium. Doing so takes a lot of time and space – and when you’ve copied all the files and folders once, you don’t need to back them up again until they change. You can then perform partial
backups such as these types:
A differential backup backs up all the files that have been changed since the last full backup. Differential backups don’t clear the archive bit and thus grow in size. Say you perform a full backup on a Friday, then a differential backup on each other weekday. Monday’s differential backup contains files that have changed on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday; Tuesday’s contains changes from Saturday through Tuesday; and so on. To restore a computer using a full backup and a differential backup, you need only the latest differential backup and the full backup.
An incremental backup backs up all the files that have been changed since the last full backup or incremental backup. An incremental backup clears the archive bit for the files it backs up, so that they don’t need backing up until they change again. Incremental backups after the first have the advantage of being smaller than differential backups again, after the first, but they have the corresponding disadvantage that you need to reapply each incremental backup in turn on top of the last full backup to fully restore the file set. If your
backup media are capacious enough to store differential backups, differential is a better option than incremental.
A daily backup backs up only the files modified on the day you run the backup. To get full coverage with daily backups, you need to run them every day: Skip a day, and you might miss backing up an important
file. But if you’re conscientious about backing up daily, and you know the date on which you last changed the file you’re looking for, you should be able to find it easily. In Windows Vista Home, Backup Status and Configuration automatically manages your backups for you, freeing you from having to decide which type of backup to perform.
Backup Status and Configuration isn’t infallible, but it usually works pretty well.
Choosing Backup Media
Ideally, you want to back up your data to a medium that’s capacious enough to hold it all but portable enough to keep in a safe place. The medium would also be inexpensive enough for you to be able to create
backups as frequently as needed – perhaps every day. At this writing, these are the best media for backing up a computer running Windows Vista Home:
• Recordable DVDs let you store 4.7GB on a single-sided disc or 9.4GB on a double-sided disc. Recordable CDs are too low in capacity to be practical for any but the most modest backups.
• A network drive can provide plenty of space, good space, and extreme simplicity for a backup, but ideally you need to have offsite backup as well. If your network is extensive enough that your network drive
is effectively offsite, you’re on to a winner here.
• A second or subsequent hard disk offers the capacity and speed for a complete backup. External USB 2.0 or FireWire hard drives offer portability as well. If you can afford a pair of external hard drives, they make a very effective backup mechanism. And if you’re an iPod enthusiast who keeps upgrading to Apple’s latest offerings, you might find yourself with several surplus older-model iPods that will make great portable backup drives.
• Online backup offers easy access from any computer that can connect to the Internet – but compared to other backup media, it’s slow and expensive. If you have enough money and a fast enough Internet
connection, you can back up all your data online. But for most people, online is an option only for small amounts of data. Backup Status and Configuration can’t back data up directly to online storage, but you
can copy backup files to such storage manually.
Restrictions on Backup Media and Drives
Windows can’t save backups to tape drives or to flash drives. Nor can you back up data to the same disk that contains it or to the system disk or the startup disk also called the boot disk. For technical reasons, Windows can back up only files stored on NTFS drives, not on FAT32 drives.
Configuring Backup and Running Your First Backup
To configure backups and run your first backup, take the following steps:
1. Choose Start All Programs Accessories System Tools Backup Status and Configuration.
2. Click the Set Up Automatic File Backup button, and then authenticate yourself to User Account Control. Windows launches the Back Up Files Wizard, which scans for backup devices and then displays the
3. Choose between using a local disk and a network folder:
• If you want to use a hard disk, CD, or DVD, select the On a Hard Disk, CD, or DVD option button, and then choose the drive in the drop-down list.
• If you want to use a network folder, select the On a Network option button. Click the Browse button. Windows displays the Browse for Folder dialog box. Select the folder, and then click the OK button.
4. Click the Next button.
5. Select the check box for each disk you want to include. If you clear one or more check boxes, the wizard displays the warning symbol at the bottom of the screen to make sure that you know you are not backing up all of the disks on your computer.
6. Click the Next button.
7. Select the check box for each file type you want to back up.
8. Click the Next button.
In addition, you also can backup a specified folder on a regular basis. To configure this backup options, click “Control Panel | Backup and restore | Set up the backup”. Furthermore, Windows will ask for data backup target location. If there is an external hard disk that is connected, the system will automatically recommend it. Select this drive and click “Next”. Now, define, Windows or you are selecting a number of data to be backed up. For system backup, you can continue it according to the recommendation of Windows.
In addition, you also can backup a number of important directories on a regular basis. How, to enable the option “Selection by the user” and click “Next”. Selection of default is the same with the recommendation
of Windows ever. Now, you can select folders and libraries who want to be a backup. Next, disable the option “Save data for newly created user” then click the arrow in front of the “Libraries”. For example, let the “Document Library” is turned on and off “Includes system image of drives” and click “Next”. For daily data backup process, click the “Change Schedule”. In the dialog window, tick the box “Run backups on a schedule (recommended)” and change the “How Often” to “Daily” and set the clock option in the “What Time” then click “OK”. Make sure you arrange a schedule that must be different from other backup processes.
If you are unsure, you can click the button “Save settings and run backups.”
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