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Sun 3 Jul 2005 04:00 AM

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Data to disc

If you rely on your computer to run your business, it is essential to have a planned back-up strategy to prevent the loss of vital information in the event of fire, flood, hardware failure, theft, or simple user error. Windows Middle East talks you through it.

|~|back-up2.jpg|~|The back-up wizard makes using BackupMyPC a breeze.|~|All computers and their components are subject to failure. Imagine walking into your office one fine day and switching on your system, only to find all the important documents you’ve worked on over the weekend are gone. Data loss or corruption can occur at anytime and due to many number of factors, including hard disk failure, failure of support hardware (such as the power supply and motherboard overheating), physical damage (due to natural disasters, carelessness or sabotage), software problems (such as bugs), viruses and human error.

What do you do then? Sure you can send your damaged hard disk to a data recovery centre, but that will cost you money and the more data you want to recover, the more you’ll have to spend. Since precaution is better than cure, why not back-up your important data regularly? Don’t worry - backing up your essential files is neither difficult nor time-consuming and it isn’t a costly affair either. In fact, the whole process can take as little as 10 minutes a week. Best of all, Windows XP can do most of the work.

Within Windows

Windows XP has its own ‘Backup’ utility, which is installed by default with Windows XP Professional. However, if you’re using Windows XP Home edition, you will have to manually install the application from the XP installation CD. This is how:
1. Double-click the Ntbackup.msi file in the following location on the Windows XP Home Edition CD-ROM:
2. This starts a wizard that installs the Backup application.
3. When the wizard is complete, click Finish.

Now that we have made sure the back-up tool is installed on your PC, let’s begin backing up. By default, Backup uses a wizard that makes the process straightforward.
To start Backup:
1. Click Start, point to All Programs, select Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Backup to start the wizard.
2. Click Next to choose ‘Back-up files and settings’ from the second page, then Next again.

Now comes the most important part: choosing the files you want to back-up. Though you might be tempted to click on the ‘All information’ option, think twice before choosing this, because if you’ve installed a slew of software, your back-up could add up to many gigabytes. For most users, the ‘My documents and settings’ option is a better choice, since this selection preserves your data files (including e-mail messages and address books) and the personal settings stored in the Windows Registry.

If your PC is set-up for many people to use, such as your family, select ‘Everyone’s documents and settings’ to back-up personal files and preferences for every user with an account on the computer. If you know that you have data files stored outside your profile, click ‘Let me choose what to back up’, which will take you to the ‘Items to Back Up’ page. Select the My Documents check box to back-up all your personal profile files (such as your internet bookmarks or Outlook Express e-mails), and then browse through the My Computer hierarchy to select any additional files you need to back-up.

If some of your files are on a shared network drive, open the My Network Places folder and select the relevant folders from here too. You’ll also need to select the destination in which you’ll store your backed up files, by specifying the back-up type, destination, and name page.

Next, choose the type of media you would like to store your backed up files on by clicking Browse. Choose any location such as your computer’s hard disk (a different partition than the one you’re using right now), a Zip drive or other removable media, shared network drive, or an external hard disk drive. Windows recommends a separate external hard disk with a storage capacity that meets your needs.

So, if your back-up contains files such as Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, you’ll need an external hard disk drive with a storage capacity of 5GB or more. However, if you’re into video rendering and need to back-up movies and music files, you might need an external hard disk with a storage capacity of 20GB or more. After you’ve chosen a back-up location, enter a descriptive name for the file, click Next to display the wizard’s final page, and then click Finish to begin backing up.

Now that you’ve backed up your data, wouldn’t you like to automate this procedure? To do that, when you get to the final page of the Backup Wizard, don’t click Finish. Instead, click the Advanced button, and click Next to open the ‘When to Back Up’ page. Here choose Later, and then click Set Schedule to open the Schedule Job dialog box.

The Third Party Route

For those users who don’t run Windows XP, there’s no need to worry. You can always download third-party back-up software online. One such program is Stomp’s BackupMyPC (See screenshot). A 30-day fully functional trial version of BackupMyPC can be downloaded from www.stompsoft.com. Once the software is installed, click on Start, point to programs, select Stomp and then point to BackupMyPC. The trial version offers five options including BackupMyPC, BackupMyPC Scheduler, Configure Devices, One-button Backup and One-button Restore.

Clicking on BackupMyPC will start the application in wizard format, while Scheduler is for scheduling automated back-ups (similar to Task Scheduler in Windows XP). Configure Devices allows you to configure the settings of those devices used for back-up - such as optical drives, USB storage devices and external hard disks - to work with the application.

As the name suggests, One-button Backup and One-button Restore allow you to quickly back-up or restore all the data onyour PC with just a click of a button.

Useful Resources

CopyToDVD allows you to back-up your music, games, movies, video, photos and data files onto CD or DVD.

Backup Manager Home Edition
This software app allows you to back-up and restore files, documents, e-mails, settings and programs to any local or remote device.

SmartSync Pro
SmartSync Pro is back-up and synchronisation software that will copy your important files to a different drive, removable ZIP/JAZ/CD-RW drive, network volume, or just compress to a zip archive.

Simply Safe Backup
Simply Safe Backup is a free tool that allows you to back-up your data to a zip file, file server, zip drive, tape, FTP server, CD or DVD.

Popular back-up downloads

Back-up your files
www.microsoft.com/athome/moredone/backupfiles.mspx - essential reading!||**||

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