Back up data created in proprietary file formats and their respective folders.

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Back Up Work Created with Third-Party Applications

Some applications store their data in folders that are not easily accessible. One application I use, Arts and Letters, has a special folder on the hard drive created by the program for storing data. Another program I use, Microsoft Outlook (on Windows XP), also has folders stored in difficult-to-find places and the backup options are not the same as they are in Outlook Express or in Vista’s newer Windows Mail. As mentioned in previous articles, you’ll have to figure out where that data is stored and how to back it up.

In Arts and Letters for instance, the folder where all files created with the program are stored is a folder called My Graphics, which is a subfolder in another subfolder named ExpressOffice. I know this because when I choose File and then Save As, that’s the folder that appears in the Save In text box. You’ll need to find out if any programs you use act similarly.

Note: Most programs offer the ability to change where the files are saved by default. You may want to consider looking into this.

Find the Folder Location

To find out where any program you use creates saved files by default (I’ll talk about Microsoft Outlook separately), you can do the same:

  1. Open any program you use: Quicken, Photoshop, Excel, Windows Live Messenger, Web camera software, or anything similar.

  2. Create a document, picture, image, or file using that program. It can be one word or one number; just create something.

  1. From the File menu, select Save As. If you don’t see one of these options, check for others that may be appropriate, such as Open or Save.

  2. All programs will open some sort of dialog box that allows you to see where the file will be saved. Make a note of that location. You may have to click the down arrow in the Save In option or something similar to see the entire path.

  3. Close the program.

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

  5. Browse to the location of the folder. This folder can now be backed up by dragging and dropping to the appropriate media.

Microsoft Outlook

If you use Microsoft Outlook, you can back up your data using the tools provided with the program. To back up your address book, open the address book, choose Select All, and then File and Save As. To back up mail messages, select the mail pane, and from the File menu, choose Import and Export, Outlook, and Export to a File. From there, you can work through the wizard to back up personal file folders in a variety of ways. When you get to the Save Exported File As choices, browse to a location to save the backup and then drag and drop the backup to your backup media.

The point is, all programs differ. However, you can always use File and Save As or use the program’s export options to back up the data you create.

This post is part of the series: Know what computer data you need to back up, why you should, and how to do it.

A guide for telecommuters, small business owners, and SOHO users; learn what to back up, why, and how to do it.

  1. Know what data to back up and why
  2. Data Types You should Back Up Regularly
  3. Remember to Back Up Internet Explorer Data
  4. Remember to Back Up Data Created in Third-Party Applications
  5. Back Up System Information, Fonts, and Updates
  6. Back up data to a CD or DVD using Windows
  7. Another Back Up Option – The External Drive
  8. Alternate Backup Strategies and Media
  9. Test and Organize Optical Media Backups
  10. Test and Organize Backups on External Drives
  11. Restore Application –Specific Files and Folders
  12. Conclusion: The Backup Series