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Back Up System Information, Fonts, and Updates

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

When backing up data you keep on your SOHO PC, remember to back up system information as well as easily forgotten data like fonts and system updates.

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    Back Up Your System Information

    Creating a backup of the list of system information is just as important as backing up personal information. Using a tool called System Information, you can list and save vital information about your computer. You can use this information if you ever want to replace hardware such as a nonworking network interface card or CD-ROM drive with the exact same model and type, if you need to replace a corrupt driver but don’t know its version or name, or if you need to view problem devices.

    You open the System Information window by typing Msinfo32 in the Run box in XP, or in the Start Search window in Vista. Here are some of the items you can you can access and save information about:

    * Hardware, including name, model, manufacturer, and type

    * Display settings, including color planes, drivers, IRQ channels, and resolution

    * Input devices, such as their type, driver, and manufacturer

    * Network connections, adapter types, and protocols used

    * Available ports, including serial, parallel, USB, and FireWire

    * Printers and print jobs

    * Storage devices, including drivers, disks, SCSI, and IDE

    * Signed drivers

    * Running services

    * Microsoft applications

    This is just a smattering of what is included in the report. If you have a full report saved though, you can save a technician time when they need to replace a part or find a driver or repair your computer. The technician can also view the running services, problem devices, and other information when troubleshooting a problematic computer.

    While the information from System Information is only a list of components, drivers, and internal parts and workings, you can also physically back up important system files such as the Registry, fonts, drivers, and downloaded updates and service packs. You should do this occasionally, perhaps two or three times a year.

    To create a backup of this data, click File and click Export to create the first report and click File and click Save to create a backup of that! In an emergency, you'll have two options to work with.

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    Fonts, Drivers, Updates

    Backing up fonts, drivers, and downloaded updates can be done using Windows Explorer:

    1. Right-click the Start button and choose Explore.

    2. Expand Local Disk, expand the Windows folder, and locate Drivers. Right-click the Drivers folder, drag to a backup location, and choose Copy Here. Do not choose Move Here. Be careful not to choose Move Here, your data will be moved and a nightmare will result!

    3. Below the Drivers folder, locate Fonts. Back up this folder in the same manner.

    4. If there are other folders you’d like to back up, locate them and perform the same tasks. You may want to back up the folders ServicePackFiles, Offline Web Pages, or others.

    Tip: Don’t forget about System Restore! System Restore creates a backup of the system state daily, including the Registry, and you can use it to revert to a previous state anytime you need to. Verify that System Restore is enabled by right-clicking My Computer, choosing Properties, choosing the System Restore tab, and making sure Turn Off System Restore on All Drives is not checked.

    Now that you now how to isolate the data that you’ll need to be backing up, I’ll show you how to perform the important steps to actually save your data on a backup device. In the remaining articles I’ll talk about the various options available.