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Backing Up in Windows XP - Automated Backups

Backing up is one of the most important things that most people never do, probably because they think it is too difficult or they think there hard drive will never crash. Well the good news is that backing up data in Windows XP is very simple. The bad news is that your hard drive will crash sooner or later.

In Windows XP it is very easy to run automated backups. This is a great feature that most people have never used. With the XP backup tool you can specify exactly what you want to backup, where to backup to and then you can set a schedule so that it does this on a regular basis. You can then sit back and relax knowing that your data will be safe.

Using the Windows XP Backup Tool

OK, lets get started with setting up a basic weekly scheduled backup. Note: You can also use the backup tool to run a once off backup, it doesn't have to be scheduled.

1) Startup the Windows XP Backup tool: Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Backup

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2) Click "Next"

3) You can then choose to backup files or restore files. In this case we are doing a backup, so select Back up files and settings, then click "Next".

4) Choose what to backup. From this window you can backup My documents, the entire computer or you can select what you want to backup. For custom scheduled backups, it is most likely that you will want to choose your own files/folders to backup, so select "Let me choose what to back up" and click "Next".

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5) Now you simply select which folders/drives you want to include in your backup. Click the box next to a drive or folder to select/deslect. After you have select what you will be backing up, click "Next".

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6) Select where you will be backing up the files. You can either backup to another hard drive, an external hard drive, or pretty much wherever you want. Click "Next" to continue.

7) You are at the end of the standard backup procedure. Now we want to setup scheduling. So click on the "Advanced" button.

8) Select the type of backup. Here you can select normal, incremental, differential or daily. For now just select normal. Click "Next". What are the other backup methods: Incremental backup - Only the files changed since the recent backup will be included. Differential backup - A cumulative backup of all changes made after the last backup.

9) On this screen you can choose to verify the data after backup, use hardware compression and disable volume shadow copy. It is probably a good idea to verify the data after backup. It will take longer, but thats fine, because generally you will schedule the backup to run when you are not using the computer anyway. Click "Next".

10) You can choose to append this backup to existing backups or to replace the backups. This depends on your preference. I personally like to append the backups. Click "Next".

11) When to Back Up. This is where you can specify the schedule for your backups. You can either run it now, or later. You will need to choose Later in order to setup the scheduled backups. Click "Later", then give the job a name, then click the "Set Schedule button". Here you can set your backup to run once, daily, weekly, monthly and you can specify the time. There are also other settings you can play around with once you get used to the whole process. Once you are happy with your schedule, click "Ok", then click "Finish". At this point you may be prompted for the account password.

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Your automated backups will now run according to the schedule you set. No more worrying about data loss! The one important thing with any backups is to test the backups. Every once in a while you run a test restore on the backups.

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