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Backup Recommendations for the Home User

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 8/13/2009

For the home user, I suggest you create a normal backup of the system state and a normal backup of your personal data monthly.

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    Tips and Tricks

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

    When you back up data you should make certain to back up the My Documents, My Pictures, My Music, and other data folders and then store those backups on a DVD, flash drive, network drive, or a separate hard drive. Also, you need to create a normal backup of the system state. You might also back up the Fonts folder, other personal folders, the Unzipped folder (if you have one), and even a few program folders. You can then combine those normal backups with daily backups if so inclined. In addition, you should create a normal, full backup in case of an extreme emergency. Both can be used with the Restore utility, and you can decide which one to use depending on the situation at hand.

    How Often to Back Up

    You should develop a backup schedule based on how much data you can stand to lose. I perform a daily backup, but I make quite a few changes every day to the data stored on my hard drives and I consider my data quite valuable. I perform normal backups once a week. If, however, you only log on twice a week to send a few e-mails, there’s certainly no need to create a backup schedule like mine.

    Here are some tips to help you figure out just how often you need to back up your data:

    • If you are a casual user who only turns on the computer twice a week to e-mail a friend, perform a normal (daily) backup once every two weeks and a full backup up twice a year. Always create a daily backup if and when you’ve created something you can’t imagine losing.
    • If you are a home user and access the computer daily, perform a normal (daily) backup two or three times a week and a full backup up four times a year. Still remember to create a daily backup if and when you’ve created something you can’t imagine losing.
    • If you are a home user and digital media enthusiast or if you work from home, create a normal (daily) backup once a day, at the end of each day, and a full back up once or twice a week.
    • If you are a home user and work from home, create a daily backup and a full backup nightly.

    Regardless of how much you use your computer, you should have at least one full backup a couple of times a year. You should perform normal backups combined with daily backups as you deem necessary. For most people, backing up important (and changed) documents at least once a week is a good habit to get into.

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