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Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Backup & Restore

Updated on June 16, 2009

I simply can't understand why, in the full fourth decade of personal computing, I still at least once a week hear from some poor soul who is in tears because they have just lost all their precious data. There is absolutely no excuse not to back up regularly and religiously, and if you think that it doesn't apply to you, you're dead wrong.

Backup and Restore is bundled in with every copy of Windows 7, and in contrast to earlier Microsoft efforts, is a truly superlative tool. It's simple to use and extremely effective, so before we go on to playing with Windows 7 let's check it out:

To launch it easily, just press the Start button (the same one as was on Vista) and type backup.

 Select Backup and Restore, and let's get started. First click on Set up backup.

 Windows 7 will now start setting up the requirements for backing up everything you need.

 Now you get to choose where you want the files backed up. You can back them up to darn near anything, including optical drives.

 I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to backing up and I want to control every aspect of the files I keep and the ones I don't. However, for those readers who are not quite as retentive as I am about what's on my hard drive, you can easily choose to let the OS determine which files it will back up.

 At this point you can choose the files you want, and also have the option to include a system image. It is absolutely invaluable to have a system image on your backup. This includes each and every setting that you have on your operating system so if you were to suffer a catastrophic crash, you could restore your entire system exactly as it is right at this minute with a minimum of fuss, muss or bother. It's definitely worth the few megabytes it takes up on your backup medium and I wholeheartedly endorse it!

 Now you can choose how frequently to back up. Unless you're working on a massive project that's worth millions, you don't have to back up every day. Almost all of us can afford to lose a few days of data. I run my backups weekly and find it's just fine. You don't have to set them for the middle of the night unless you regularly keep your PC on 24/7. Windows 7 backup works very well in the background and you might not even notice that it's doing its thing!

 Backup will now start. Depending on how much data you have it can take a long long long time. That's not really a factor as you can just keep on working on whatever you want and all the backup magic will be happening without you even noticing.

You're now set to go. Once the process is completed, you'll be able to launch Backup and Restore whenever you want and click on Restore Files. Everything will be there, just like it is right now, no matter what happens to your PC (unless it's stolen!)

Read The Entire Windows 7 Complete Guide!

Windows 7: The Complete Guide
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Getting Started
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Backup & Restore
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Security & Privacy
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Encryption
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Aero & Libraries
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - HomeGroup
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Tips & Tricks
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Turn Off The Junk & Crank Up The Speed

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