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Remember to Back Up Internet Explorer Data

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 5/4/2010

When backing up don’t overlook obscure items like key Internet Explorer information. If you have a hard drive failure you’re going to want to restore things like Favorites and Cookies.

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    Back Up Key Internet Explorer Information

    Open Internet Explorer. Do you have a home page configured? When you go to Amazon.com, do they know what you like to read? Are you automatically logged in when you visit your favorite sites or your company’s Web site? Do you maintain a list of favorite Web sites? If so, you need to do some backing up in Internet Explorer. I can guarantee you’ll miss this data if you ever have a hardware disaster.

    Internet Explorer makes it pretty easy to back up your Internet favorites and cookies. Favorites are the list of Web sites you’ve marked that you like to visit; cookies let these sites know who you are and what you like to look at or purchase when you visit.

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    Back Up Favorites

    To locate and back up, Internet Explorer Favorites, follow these steps:

    1. Open Internet Explorer, and from the File menu select Import and Export. Click Next to start the Import/Export Wizard. (If you don’t see the File menu, hold down the Alt key on the keyboard.)

    2. From the Import/Export Selection page, select Export Favorites. Click Next. (You’d select Import Favorites if you needed to restore the file.)

    3. In the Export Favorites Source Folder page, select the Favorites folder. Click Next.

    4. In the Export Favorites Destination page, click Browse. Select a folder to save the data to. You may want to create a new folder.

    5. In the Select Bookmark File window, name the file Favorites, and type the month and year. Click Save.

    6. Click Next and Finish to complete.

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    Back Up Cookies

    Do this to locate and back up cookies:

    1. Open Internet Explorer, and from the File menu select Import and Export. Click Next to start the Import/Export Wizard.

    2. From the Import/Export Selection page, select Export Cookies. Click Next. (You’d select Import Favorites if you needed to restore the file.)

    3. In the Export Cookies Destination page, click Browse. Select a folder to save the data to. You may want to create a new folder.

    4. In the Select Cookie File window, name the file Cookies and type the month and year. Click Save.

    5. Click Next and Finish to complete.

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    Manual Backup Advantages

    When you create a backup in this manner, you are creating a backup that you can restore to any Windows PC (and even some Linux machines). This is a great type of backup to have because of this versatility. You can store these backups off site, on CDs or DVDs, and even on network drives. You can also restore from these backups more easily of you only need the IE data and nothing else.

    Also, if all of your backups are stored on a Windows Home Server, or created using XP’s Backup utility or Vista’s Backup and Restore Center, you may encounter problems restoring from those backups if your new PC doesn’t meet certain requirements. You may also encounter problems if your Windows Home Server fails or if backups become corrupt due to a virus or similar problem.

    To sum up then, I prefer these “manual" types of backups over all others for these reasons. Of course, I’ll suggest you make backups with a Windows Home Server or a built-in backup utility, but by far, manual backups like the ones detailed here are the best.