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[ The PC Guide | System Care Guide | Backups and Disaster Recovery | How To Back Up ]

Software Conflicts

When performing backups in a multitasking operating system, it is necessary to be wary of possible conflicts between the backup software and any other software that may be running simultaneously. Any programs that are running in the background that might write to files or directories on the disk can confuse the backup software, especially when it goes to verify the files it has backed up, because it may find different files in some directories at the end of the backup compared to what was there at the beginning.

Another problem is with files that are locked due to another program having exclusive access to the file. To prevent more than one application from changing a document at the same time, many applications will lock them out so no other application can use them. This can cause the backup software to be unable to back up these files.

If you are doing backups from a single-tasking operating system like DOS, you don't generally have this concern (because you don't have multiple programs running simultaneously). However, watch out for TSR (terminate and stay-resident) programs that might be in memory at the same time as your backup software. If you schedule backups to run at a pre-set time while you are away, you may have a more difficult time of ensuring that nothing else is running at the time the backup starts.

The solution to avoiding these problems is, in most cases, to simply turn off other software when you are doing a backup. This is what I do. I close all applications before I begin a backup, and make sure there is nothing running in the background (I use Windows 95). I also disable my screen saver, to ensure that it doesn't cause interference (this can be done by going to the Control Panel, selecting "Display" and then "Screen Saver"). Another advantage to doing this is that I ensure that the backup software gets as much of the processor's attention as it needs.

Next: Data Verification


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