With each version of the Windows operating systems the backup process has improved. In prior versions I relied on third party backup solutions. With the Vista operating system I found that the Backup program that comes with Vista is dependable, and there is no need to buy another backup program.
The above statements are true if you are backing up your data to a USB external drive. I have a 250Gb external drive and I backup my computer at least once a month. You can use DVDs, but you would need multiple DVDs.
If you have a home network you can also backup one computer to another. If you only have a wireless network I would not recommend it because it will be a very slow process.
To start the backup process click on the Start menu and select the All Programs button, then select the Accessories folder, then Systems Tools folder and click on Backup Status and Configuration menu option. You have three options here:
· Backup Files
· Restore Files
· Complete PC Backup
Backup Files is when you want to backup your data only. No programs or operating files will be backed up. This would be good if you have the Vista DVD and CDs for all of your application. You would then just have to re-install the operating system and the applications, then restore your data.
You can also set this for automatic and as long as the device that you back up to is connected, it will perform the backup automatically.
Restore Files if you needed to restore the files from step one discussed above. Restore Files will allow you to recover an individual file, or a backup made on another computer, or restore files made from this computer.
The Complete PC Backup will copy the entire contents of your hard drive. I usually backup my computer once a month using the data as the file name. You basically select the Complete PC Backup and click on Create a backup now. Make sure the hard drive you are backing up to is attached. It will take some time to backup your entire system, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.
Advanced Restore will allow you to transfer the entire contents of your backup to a new hard drive or computer. This is done through the Advanced Restore option after you click on the Restore Files button.
Backing up to another computer running Vista may cause problems with Windows authentication. If it is only the hard drive that is different, you will need to re-authenticate the computer, but it can be done in about ten minutes.
Everyone thinks that they are safe until their computer stops working. Hard drives fail on 35% of the computers within the first year. Why take a chance. Make sure you backup your computer today.
There are also on-line backup locations offered on the Internet. Some are inexpensive. If something happened to the backup device, you are still out of luck. Having an online backup might be the right solution because these companies have a lot of redundancy. Go to the newsletter section of my site where I recommend a vendor for backups.