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Understanding Windows Vista: Backup, Storage, Restore Files

written by: Ashwin Satyanarayana•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 5/11/2009

Windows Vista is one of the more popular OS out there. Computers are indispensible for most users throughout the world and what makes them so important is all the data that they can either store or process. Protecting this data is of vital importance and if you are on Vista, you have to read this.

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    One of the most important things you would want to do is to back-up and restore data, but it does demand a lot of space. Thankfully, Windows Vista comes with a new feature where the backup files can be easily compressed. The compressed files group will be present on ‘which file type do you want to back up’ screen and it will comprise quite a lot of large files in it. To reduce the time taken to run and the size of the backups, the file types have to include the following:

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    ZIP Files

    For compressing and archiving data, the Zip File method can be used. Instead of individual uncompressed files, the user can back up the zip files and put the individual file in the zip file.

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    CAB Files

    For distributing and storing the data, we can use the CAB cabinet files. Windows will not supply a tool for creating the cabinet files and even the user is not allowed to create these themselves. Nearly all the cabinet files will come from other companies or from Microsoft to your system. There is no need for creating back ups of these files.

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    ISO Files

    The image files from DVD’s or CD’s are known as ISO Files. If an ISO File has to be downloaded, it is normally better to burn the ISO files to DVD or CD rather than backing up the files with the other files present in the system.

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    WIM Files

    The WIM Files are nothing but a windows imaging file, were the disk-image files consist of an operating system. In spite of compressing the contents as far as possible, the WIM file tends to be huge. Because of this reason, we will not want to keep the back up of WIM Files. The system will not contain any WIM Files because the WIM Files will not be created by the user.

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    VHD Files

    Virtual Hard Disk files are known as VHD . In short, these files are used by Microsoft’s Virtual Processors to program. The VHD files will allow the user to run other OS (operating systems) on top of windows, in the system. The VHD files will not be included in the regular backups because it tends to be several GB (gigabytes). The processor will not contain any VHD files, unless a compatible program or a Virtual processor is used.

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    Running an Uncheduled Backup

    The unscheduled backups can be run by selecting the ‘Back up now’ button, which is present in the configuration windows and Backup status bar. You just have to authenticate yourself to the User Account Control (UAC). The backup will display a message over the notification area stating that the backup process is running in your system. A message will be displayed at the end of the back-up process.

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    Turning Off Automatic Backup

    If you want to turn off the backups automatically, select the ‘turn off’ button which will be present in the configuration and backup status window. After this is done, you’d have to authenticate yourself to the User Account Control. Follow the similar process to “turn on” the back-up process.