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Backing up your hard drive for dummies?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Zoolander, Jan 24, 2005.

  1. Zoolander

    Zoolander Castrated

    Nov 8, 2004

    Learn How To Safely Backup Your Hard Drive

    by: Otis F Cooper

    We all know that we should back up our system as soon as possible. But if you're like most of us, you will get to it tomorrow. The problem is that tomorrow rarely ever comes until you experience a serious computer failure and then its too late.

    Taking the time to backup your data or entire hard drive is not as painstaking as it may seem. And the rewards of doing so will be great should your system experience a crash.


    If you have Windows XP you will need to install the new Windows backup utility from the Windows XP cdrom. Just place the WinXP cdrom in your cdrom drive and locate the line D:\VALEADD\MSFT\NTBACKUP.

    Here you see the first letter as D but if your optical drive have a different drive letter, exchange the D with your drive's letter. To install the utility,click on the file named NTBackup.msi.

    The backup utility will be installed to the system tools group. Click Start,All Programs,Accessories,System Tools,and Backup.There is a neat wizard that will walk you through the backup process.

    WinXP's backup utility will backup your entire hard drive and will make a recovery disk to boot.

    One neat third party backup software you can try is NewTech InfoSystems at where you can download their trial version and put it to use for 30 days. And if its your cup of tea, the full version will run you about $79.95


    You should back up your entire hard drive when you perform your first backup.After that it is best to perform an Incremental backup. This type of backup only allows you to backup files that have changed since your last performed backup.

    Differential Backups copy changed files and files that have been added since you last did your entire backup. This type of backup is more detailed than incremental backups and is easier to restore.


    You can backup your files on cdroms and have the files compressed to save both space and backup time. WinXP will compress folders,subfolders,and files during backup.

    You can purchase compression software that will do the same saving you cdrom storage space. The compressed files are automatically uncompressed once they are restored unto your hard drive.

    You can also use a second hard drive as your backup storage device. We use two backup hard drives to be certain Ultimate PC Repair is up and running 24/7.

    You can either purchase an internal hard drive in install it to your ide cable or you may want to purchase an external hard drive that connects to your Universal Serial Bus or USB Port.

    The advantage of the external drives is that they have very large amount of storage space, transfer data fast, and can be moved from your computer to any other computer.

    We use the Western Digital 170 Gigabyte External Hard Drive and we simply bounce it around to either one of our four computers with the greatest of ease.


    You may also consider online services for backing up your data. If you lose all your backup data, say due to a natural disaster such as a flood, your online data is right there waiting for you.

    Another advantage of online backups is that you can access, upload, or download your data from any location. It is best to use high speed internet access if you're considering online data storage.

    One such online backup service is Istorage located at and charges from $2.49 a month for 50MBs to $17.95 a month for a big 1,000MBs of storage.

    Or you can check out FilesAnywhere located at the url

    Still another online service to try is CapSure located at

    Backup your system now in one way or another if you have not done so. If you have critical data that you simply cannot do without, take the time to invest in a backup device or one of the many online backup services.

    Stop and perform those backups as soon as possible. You will be thankful you did should something go wrong with your computer. Its always better to be safe than sorry.


    Okay, people, talk to me like I'm only 11 years old. I have never backed anything up. It's got to be easier than it seems, right? I will be installing a DVD Burner soon, currently I have a CD Burner.


  2. NetNinja

    NetNinja Always Faithful

    Oct 23, 2001
    HotLanta, GA
    Let's make this easy.

    What do you want to back up?

    Saved Emails?

    I am not familiar with XP's backup porgram and what it requires to save those backup files. My thinking is that it creates a restore partition on you hard drive and if anything should ever happen you can just restore your machine FROM THE POINT OF WHEN YOU LAST PERFORMED YOUR FULL BACKUP. anything latter than that you will loose.

    All you have to do is place a blank CD into your burner and back those files up.

    Now if you want to backup programs we are now into the world of really doing system restores.

    If you have legitimate copies of your software and your computer goes bust then all you would have to do it reinstall your Operating system and your opther programs.
    Then copy your saved files you burned onto CD's back onto the Hard Drive.

    The thing we have to determine is.

    1. What do you want to backup (silly question I know)
    Specifically what is it you can't live without if your machine dies.

    2. How much FREE hard drive space do you have?
    Because if you are using MS backup I have a feeling you are going to need hard drive space to store that file albeit a compressed one at that. If it can be burned to CD Rom then you have to take into account that a CD Rom disk can only hold about 650MB to 800MB of information.
    If I remember right DVD can hold up to 4GB maybe more?

    Backing up data isn't all that hard it's remembering to do it.

  3. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

    I'm about ready to just buy an external HD. Just copy the whole thing. Do that twice a year. Every month or so just burn a rom of My Documents.
  4. NetNinja

    NetNinja Always Faithful

    Oct 23, 2001
    HotLanta, GA
    Interesting I dont see that folder(VALEADD\MSFT\NTBACKUP) on my XP Pro CD.

    I see the VALEADD\MSFT\ but no NTBACKUP.

    Someone is smoking crack.
  5. Fireglock

    Fireglock Which is worse?

    Nov 25, 2000
    Pinellas County, FL
    NTBACKUP is on my XP home disk. I wonder who the someone is that's smoking the crack? ;Q :)
  6. Fireglock

    Fireglock Which is worse?

    Nov 25, 2000
    Pinellas County, FL
    After looking at the read me notes on NTBACKUP I think it's just easier to buy Retrospect and let it do it's thing.

    With XP Home and NTBACKUP you have to create the files and then burn them to CD, not easy, not timely and not for me. :(
  7. A CD burner is normally enough to back up personal data.You likely don't need a DVD burner for backing up your system.Also there still isn't a stansard for DVD and two more DVD formats just came out that are suppose to be "better".Check the specs on those DVD burners.Most require fairly fast,new PC's.You might want to stay away from the fastest ones they might not be compatible with your system.If you want to do more than data back up with the DVD burner than things like DVD video require very fast newer PC's.CD is the standard and likely a better way to back up things.
  8. HerrGlock

    HerrGlock Scouts Out CLM

    Dec 28, 2000
    scp -r

  9. podwich


    Sep 7, 2000
    I just backup the stuff I need to keep. I can reinstall programs-I just keep files and stuff like that. You can usually fit most of this on a CD-R.
  10. NetNinja

    NetNinja Always Faithful

    Oct 23, 2001
    HotLanta, GA
    Hmm I guess I will have to comandere an XP home edition CD to see what this program is all about.

    Funny that the XP Pro doesn't come with it. I guess if you are using XP Pro you are already in a business enviroment and they have a backup solution already for you.
  11. The updates from the American software company won't work with Hp's versions but the updates from their European parter in Ireland will work to update the HP software At one time the updates from Sony Japan would work but they don't offer updates in English anymore.
  12. sdakota

    sdakota señor member

    Sep 5, 2001
    Here, Now
    NetNinja - with XP Pro, Backup should already be installed.
    Did you check Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools ?

    Backup should be there.

    For a backup solution at home, Wulfenite nailed it
    I think the USB external drives even have "one touch" backup to make it as painless as possible.

    Backup to that periodically and use it for disaster recovery.

    Anything you create day-to-day should be backed up independently of the full system backup.

    I tell people that whenever they've done enough work that they wouldn't want to lose it, it's time to backup .
  13. NetNinja

    NetNinja Always Faithful

    Oct 23, 2001
    HotLanta, GA

    Hey dude I don't mean to be mean. But could you try to post all your thoughts in one post?

    Just about every responce you make has on average 4 seperate postings.