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Creating a Simple or Thorough Backup in Windows XP

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 6/12/2009

How do you decide what to back up with Windows Backup Utility in Windows XP? The answer to that varies, depending on your needs.

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    Create a Simple Backup

    (This is part II of the series Windows XP Backup Utility – Everything You Need to Know)

    If you only want to do a minimal backup of your important data, you can click (not check) the drive that holds the data in the left pane of the Windows Backup Utility and then simply check the appropriate folders in the right pane. You may only want to choose My Documents, My Pictures, and My Videos folders, and not system files, system state, or anything else on other drives.

    Once the appropriate folders are chosen, click the Browse button to locate the backup device (an external hard drive, USB flash drive, network drive, or other removable media) or choose to save the backup as a file. Then click Start Backup. You can’t save a backup to a CD-R, CD-RW, or DVD-R, though, so don’t even bother trying to choose any of those devices! (If you want to archive backups to a CD or DVD, you can always save the backup to your hard drive as a file and then copy that file to the CD. You’ll learn how to do that in the section “Copy to CD or DVD as a Backup Option" later in this series.)

    This “simple" type of backup is by no means a complete backup of the system and does not include important data like the system state, the Registry, drivers, and fonts. It also probably won’t include downloaded files or programs, your Favorites list, cookies, and other important settings. To get a more complete backup requires a different approach.

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    Creating a Thorough Backup

    To create a more thorough backup, we’ll use the Advanced Backup Wizard. This wizard makes it fairly easy to define what exactly you want to back up and includes options to back up the system state.

    Note: When you back up the system state, you back up the boot files, system files, the Registry, and other important data.

    To use the Advanced Backup Wizard to back up anything or everything on your computer, including the system state and Registry, follow these steps:

    1. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and click Backup.

    2. If the Welcome To The Backup Or Restore Wizard opens in Advanced mode, you’re good to go. If the utility opens in Wizard mode, click the link to start Advanced mode.

    3. From the Welcome tab, click the Backup Wizard (Advanced) button.

    4. If prompted, click No to clear any previously configured backups, and in the Welcome To The Backup Wizard page, click Next.

    5. In the What To Back Up page, you can choose Back Up Everything On This Computer; Back Up Only Selected Files, Drives, Or Network Data; or Only Back Up the System State Data. If you select the second choice, you’ll be prompted to choose folders before you can continue. If you choose either of the other two choices, the Backup Wizard will continue as described in step 6.

    6. In the Backup, Type, Destination, And Name page, choose the backup type, browse to a place to save your backup, and type a name for the backup.

    7. In the Completing The Backup Wizard page, verify that the information is correct and click Back to change anything that is not. To complete the wizard and begin the backup, click Finish.

    8. To set advanced options, click the Advanced button and work through the remaining pages. The Advanced button allows you to select a backup type, which is detailed in the following section. You can also decide if you want to append the data to an existing backup or not and whether to perform the backup now or later.

Windows XP Backup Utility – Everything You Need to Know

It's important to back up data regularly, and, you need a good backup strategy. In this series of articles, you’ll learn all about backing up data:using XP's Backup utility, backing up automatically, nd restoring when a crash occurs. You’ll also learn what to back up, how often, and more.
  1. Perform Backups with XP's Backup Utility
  2. Creating a Simple or Thorough Backup in Windows XP
  3. Different Types of Backup in Windows XP
  4. Backup Recommendations for the Home User
  5. Best Methods of Storing Your Backups
  6. Scheduling a Backup Using the Backup Utility
  7. Restore to a Backup Using the Windows XP Restore Utility
  8. Copy to a CD as a Backup Option

Additional Info