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Copy to a CD as a Backup Option

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

Archiving currently unneeded data is a great way to maintain your computer. If you only have a few specific folders to back up, if you don’t have a device to save a backup to, or if you have created a backup file that you’d like to burn to a CD for archiving, you can use XP's CD Writing Wizard.

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

    CDs (and DVDs) make great archiving tools and allow you to keep copies of important data in a separate location easily. As you know, the Backup Utility can’t be used to burn directly to a CD or DVD.

    In this article, I’ll show you two ways to burn data to a writable CD, such as a CD-R. In the first example, I’ll show you how to create a backup file and save it to your hard drive and then how to copy that backup file to the writeable CD. This is the perfect backup arrangement for those who do not have a backup device such as an external hard drive, tape device, USB flash drive, or Zip disk but who do have a CD-R drive. In the second example, we’ll show you how to drag and drop any folder using Windows Explorer, bypassing the Backup Utility altogether.

    Here’s how to burn a backup to a CD:

    1. Create a backup and save it to your hard drive.

    2. Browse to the folder holding the files. Hover the mouse pointer over the folder to select it, and notice the option to copy this file in the left pane.

    3. Choose Copy This File from the File And Folder Tasks pane, and put a CD-R disk in the CD drive.

    4. From the Copy Items dialog box, browse to the location of the CD drive and click Copy.

    5. Wait while the files copy, and when the CD is ready, browse to it and choose Write These Files To CD from the CD Writing Tasks pane.

    6. Name the CD and click Next in the CD Writing Wizard.

    You’ll probably find this option a quick and easy way to get around not having a backup device. Unfortunately, you might also find that your CDs won’t hold all of the data you’d like to back up, especially if you’re trying to back up your entire system. If that’s the case, you’ll either have to create the backup manually, being careful to choose a limited number of files to burn for each CD, or manually drag and drop the folders you want to copy to the CD, keeping track of how much you’re putting in there along the way. Of course, you can always burn a DVD; DVDs hold almost 5 GB of data. (If you decide to go that route, I'll suggest using your DVD burner's software.)

    To drag and drop files and folders and copy the data to a CD-R, follow these steps:

    1. Place a CD-R disk in the appropriate drive.

    2. Open My Computer and select the CD drive. Position the window so that it takes up only half the screen.

    3. Right-click the Start button, and choose Explore. Browse to the folder to copy, and then right-click and drag it to the CD-R folder.

    4. Once the folder has copied, hover the mouse pointer over it to see its size. Continue adding files and folders to copy until the disk is 95 percent full.

    5. When you are ready to write the files to the CD, click Write These Files To CD in the CD Writing Tasks pane.

    Whatever way you decide to go, backing up is certainly a necessity and worth the time it takes to perform the task. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate; just a simple backup of your pictures and documents will generally suffice. Choose a backup program that you can live with, and then stick with it!

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