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How to Backup Your Data in Windows Vista

Many of us store very important data on our computers. From business data to family photos, losing these can often be very devastating. Sending your computer to a data recovery specialist can often cost hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on how severe the loss is. Therefore it would be a wise choice to make sure that you backup your data on a regular basis. Windows Vista has a file backup program built right into the operating system. Since you always run the risk of losing data on your hard drive it is recommended that you use a secondary device to backup your data, such as a zip drive or second hard drive.

This ensures that your data will be saved in case your primary drive fails. For this article we will assume you are going to use a second hard drive to backup your data. After you install the second hard drive in your computer you want to make sure that the drive is formatted. This can by opening the "My Computer" icon on your desktop.

You will then see your hard drives under the "Hard Disk Drives" section. Select the new drive and right click it, the drive will often labeled E: or F: depending on how many other devices are installed on the computer. In the drop down menu that appears you then select format and follow the simple format process. After we have setup the new hard disk and have formatted it, we are ready to setup the file backup.

The Windows Vista backup utility can be found by selecting the start button, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, then click on 'Backup Status and Configuration.' The program will launch and you will be presented with several options, some of which may be greyed out. You will want to first select the option that says 'Setup automatic file backup.' Note if you are doing this on a laptop, you will want to ensure that your laptop is plugged in, or else you will be given an error by the operating system not allowing you to continue until you plug your computer in.

After selecting this option you will be able to select whether you want to backup your data to a hard drive / CD / DVD or another computer on the network. Select your new hard drive from the list and select next. The next screen that you will come to allows you to select what types of files you want to backup.

After selecting what types of files you wish to backup you can continue on to the next screen by pressing next. At this point in the process you can select when and how often you wish to backup your computer data. How often you backup your data can really depend on how much you use your computer and what you use your computer from. If you use your computer on a daily basis and are constantly adding and changing files, we would recommend doing a daily backup. If you are just a casual user that does not use your computer for storing a lot of data, a weekly backup may suit your purposes more.

Either way, it is recommended to set the backup time to a time when you will not be using your computer, because running a backup while using the computer can impact performance and even cause the backup to fail. After you are done selecting what time and how often you wish to backup your computer, select the 'Save settings and start backup'. button. You are now ready to backup your data! Recommended Backup Setup The best recommended setup that is used for a small 1 computer backup is using an external USB / Firewire hard drive. The backup schedule is set to run weekly every night.

On a monthly basis it is also highly recommended to backup the data onto a CD or DVD that way if the backup drive ever fails you have a copy of the data on another media.

The author of this article, Jason Miller, has 10 years experience with network consulting in San Jose. For more information on network consulting in San Jose, and any other computer related information visit our website. Network Consulting San Jose

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