Backing Up Your Files

by Barry Dysert
(last updated February 23, 2015)

You've probably heard stories of people losing files because of accidental deletion, a computer virus, or a system crash. Inevitably, the first advice offered to the victim is to restore the lost files from a backup. Unfortunately, the story usually ends with the victim confessing to not having taken any backups.

Performing regular system backups should be considered an essential system management task. That way, should you ever need to recover files, it's just a matter of restoring them from the backup. Backups can be done manually or automatically. (Configuring automatic backups is covered under another tip.) To start, go to Start | Control Panel and click the Back Up Your Computer link under the System and Security heading. Windows displays the Backup and Restore dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Backup and Restore dialog box.

You first need to indicate where you want your backup to reside. Click the Change Settings link near the middle of the dialog box. The Backup wizard starts, which allows you to select the location that should hold your backup and to designate what files get backed up. After these selections have been made, click the wizard's Save Settings and Run Backup option to end the wizard and start the backup.

Remember that it is a good idea to specify a location for your backups that is different from the drive (or drives) you are backing up. With the low-cost availability of external hard drives these days, you may even want to invest in an external drive for backups.

 This tip (12263) applies to Windows 7.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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