Backing Up Windows XP
If youve installed all Windows System Tools (under Programs....Accessories) onto your PC and youre familiar with Windows 98, you might be surprised to see Windows BackUp, which is a program to back up your computer, missing.
Basically, BackUp can backup your entire C: or D: drive into a smaller compressed file. That file can then be restored if necessary using the program BackUp.
A small 2 GB logical drive will occupy less than 2 GB if you choose the compression option. Our new C: drive with Windows XP installed took 1.07 GB when backed up.
With DVD recordable drives holding 4.7 GB, you can back up your entire newly-installed Windows XP system onto a DVD. Another option is to install a second, low-cost hard drive and back up to that drive. That way if your main hard drive fails, you can restore from the secondary hard drive. And, a 40 GB hard drive might only cost $40. The probability of both hard drives failing at the same time is very small.
With Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft wanted to stop providing a backup utility. Many people complained and mumbled Linux. Microsoft compromised and decided to hide the backup utility on the Windows CD. You need to open the CD and look in the ValueAdd folder (seems it should be called the ValueRemove folder) to find a file called NTBACKUP. Double click on that and it will install BackUp onto your PC.
Microsoft Professional XP comes with a more complete version of Backup. However, considering the price differential between the Professional and the Home Edition, I think most home users will do well with XP Home Edition. (A dual processor board is one of the few reasons Id recommend XP Professional).
If youre not familiar with BackUp or backing up your system in general, I highly recommend that you begin backing up your important data regularly. You dont want to lose your crucial files.
If youre new to BackUp, try this as a simple test: Create a small test folder and place some stuff in it. Run BackUp and choose to only back up that selected folder. Save the backup file somewhere (for the test, it can be on the same hard drive). Then, delete the original file and run backup again to restore the deleted folder. Youll see your folder is safely restored. That will be a confidence builder if your system ever fails and it occurs to you that youve never actually seen BackUp restore successfully!
You can also run BackUp over a home network, backing up the C: drives of all your other PCs. For example, maybe you have another PC running Windows 98. This is helpful because your original Windows 98 CD contained a very un-updated version, whereas a complete current backup will provide all the updates to your Windows operating system. And, if your old system only has a CD-RW, but your new system has a DVD, youll be able to back up your entire operating system.
If you only backup your personal files and the hard disk fries, youll need to install Windows from the CD, then redo all the Windows updates, which assumes they remain available. Youll also need to reinstall all drivers and updates for your other program files.
Some programs such as Norton Ghost make duplicating the contents of a hard drive easier. These programs tend to deal with hidden files and system settings better.
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Version 1.0 - Version Date: May 4, 2005
Adapted with permission from a work created by Charlie Palmer.
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