How to Use the Windows XP Backup Utility to Create Reliable Backups

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Backing up data is especially important these days because we store everything—family videos, pictures, music, important documents, faxes, important records—all on a single hard drive. Imagine how much data could be destroyed by a single hard drive crash. A hard drive crash can be like a house fire or flood; every important picture, video, file, and fax would be lost.

The Windows XP Backup utility offers an easy way to back up your data regularly. As you’ll learn in this series of articles, you can combine it with the Scheduled Tasks utility to run backups automatically. The Backup utility can be run and configured via a wizard, but my suggestion is that you run it in Advanced mode because this mode offers so many more choices. In the following sections and articles, we’ll work with the Backup utility in various modes, discuss how to use it, and talk about what should be backed up and how often. In addition, I’ll give you some strategies for storing your backups safely.

Getting Started

Using the Backup utility does not require you to have any special equipment, but it does require you to have some place to save the backup file. This can be a second hard drive, a USB flash drive, an iPod, a network drive, or it can be on your own hard drive. If you use your own hard drive to save the backup, you’ll need a CD or DVD burner to copy that backup file for safekeeping. With that in mind, the first step in configuring (and getting to know) the Backup utility is to open it in Advanced mode:

  1. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and click Backup. If you use Windows XP Home Edition, skip to step 2 to install this utility. If you use Windows XP Professional Edition, move ahead to step 3.

  2. If you have Windows XP Home Edition, insert the Windows XP Home Edition CD-ROM into your CD-ROM drive. Browse to the \VALUEADD\MSFT\NTBACKUP folder and double-click the Ntbackup.msi file. Run the wizard. Return to step 1 to open the application.

  3. If the Welcome To The Backup Utility in Advanced Mode opens, you’re good to go. If the utility opens in Wizard mode, click the link to start Advanced mode.

  1. Click the Backup tab, and on the Job menu, click New.

  2. In the Backup Destination area, you can save the backup either as a file or to a tape device (if one is available). File is selected by default, and if no tape device exists, no options will be given.

  3. Refer to the next article to decide what type of backup to perform and how to select the required folders. Once the folders are selected, you can either set advanced options (also detailed) or simply start the backup.

This post is part of the series: 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