How to backup Windows 7
Whether it’s hard drive failure, a virus, fire, flood or theft, your data is vulnerable in myriad ways – here’s how to protect it
Losing data is frustrating. It can cost you time and money to recover it, and more importantly, some of it may be lost forever. We keep so much valuable information on our PC hard drives, yet we don’t take enough care to make sure the important stuff is backed up.
1. Windows has a very good back-up tool built in. Type ‘Backup’ into the Start menu and press enter.
2. Choose the option to back-up your data, and the next page will give you a list of destinations to save a copy to. You can use rewritable DVDs or a USB hard disk for saving your back-up. Using a networked hard drive attached to your router is also an option here, but best of all is to use an online storage service like Dropbox, though, that way even if your PC is destroyed, your data is safe.
3. In the next page, you can choose to let Windows select the folders that need backing up, or you can do it yourself. The latter option is best, to make sure nothing important gets missed out.
4. From here, you can select the folders on your hard drive you want to duplicate. Make sure you back-up folders with photos and personal videos in, and any that you use for personal documents or work. You don’t need to back up installed programs or Windows files themselves – they’ll just take up space in your remote storage or waste bandwidth when copied to an online service.
5. Before you run the first back-up, you can also select how often you want Windows to update it. Once a week is probably enough, that way you know you’ve always got a recent copy of your most important files somewhere safe.
6. There are other tools you can use as well. Most USB hard drives or network attached storage (NAS) come with their own programs which do the same thing, and some of the most popular internet service providers offer free back-up applications for their subscribers. You should check your contract to see if you’re entitled to this. If you want to be really secure, online services like Mozy have fully automated tools for uploading back-ups to their servers too, although you’ll have to pay an extra monthly fee for this.