File Backups

File backups are very important to protect your data. Is your hard drive fails or your operating system malfunctions, you could loose all your data. If you do regular backups, you will drastically reduce the data loss that could occur.

Using the Network for Backups

Backing up your data is very important. If you are operating on a corporate or organizational network and have disk drives shared from a file server it is likely that files stored there are backed up every night. If possible you should store your files on this server.

Since Windows operating systems use the "My Documents" folder as the location to store your files by default it will be helpful to set up your system so the "My Documents" folder points to one of your network drives. If running a Windows 2000 or Windows XP system, you can right click on the "My Documents" folder ether on your desktop or displayed from the Start menu and select properties. A dialog box similar to the one shown below will appear.

My Documents Properties

Click on the "Move" button. A dialog box similar to the one below will appear.

Browse For

Expand the "My Computer" object by clicking on the + next to it. Then select the appropriate network drive that is best to put your documents in.

How to Backup Data if You do not have a network

If you do not have a network and only have a single computer you should periodically back up your data. You should purchase or own one of the following:

You should be aware of where you store your files and you should also know where your mail files are stored by your mail program such as Outlook or Outlook Express. If you right click on your inbox folder in Outlook Express you can find the location where your mail is stored. On my system it is stored in the folder at: C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{B718C535-6548-4E1D-A5D2-7D1B41CFEB2E}\Microsoft\Outlook Express\ where username is the name I login with. If you are using Outlook, it is normally stored in a file of type .pst and on my system it is in the folder C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\ where Username is the name I login with.

Setting up a Backup Job

To open the Windows backup program on Windows 2000, select Start, then Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools, then Backup. You must be a backup operator or administrator on your system to create a backup job. The backup utility will start as shown below.


Immediate Backup

If you want to do an immediate backup, click on the Backup tab and select the files that you want to backup. On my system I selected the folders C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\, C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\, and other areas where I store my data such as "My Computer". Also be sure to check the box next to "System State" which may save you a lot of grief if you have trouble with your system.


Click on the "Start backup" button and on the dialog box that appears select either "Append..." or "Replace..." data on the media, then select "Start Backup".

Schedule a Backup

To schedule a backup, click on the "Schedule Backups" tab. The Backup program will show a calendar as shown below.

Backup Calendar

Click the "Add Job" button. A backup wizard will start. Click "Next". A "What to backup" dialog box as shown below will appear.

What to Backup

Select "Backup selected files, drives, or network data" and click "Next". On the next box select the items you want to backup by first clicking the + next to "My Computer" to expand it as shown below.

Items to back up

Select the items in the same way as discussed under the header called "Immediate Backup" above and click Next. The dialog box will change and allow you to select the name and location of the file the backup will be stored in. Click "Next" and a dialog box will ask the type of backup you want to perform. A normal backup will be sufficient so select it unless you have another preference and click "Next". You can read more about the backup types at the Windows NT File Backup Page.

After clicking next, select "Verify data after backup" and click "Next". Select whether to Append or replace data if the file already exixst at the specified location and click "Next". Accept or specify the backup label and click "Next". The below dialog box will appear.

Time to back up

Click on the "Set Schedule button and the dialog box below will appear.

Time to back up

Select your preferred backup times and how often you want to do this backup such as weekly. Click OK and the backup schedule dialog box will disappear. Enter the name of your backup job and click next on the "When to back up" dialog box. Click "Finish" to complete the process. Backups should run when you have scheduled them.

If you want to delete a backup job that you have scheduled, click on the "Schedule Jobs" tab and click on the job shown on the calendar. A dialog box with the job name will pop up. You can click on the "Delete" button next to the Job name to delete the Job.

Basic Computer Tutorial Contents Page