How to Backup Your Hard Drive
By Otis F. Cooper
We all know that we should back up our system as soon as possible. But if you're like most
of us, you will get to it tomorrow. The problem is that tomorrow rarely ever comes until
you experience a serious computer failure and then itís too late.
Taking the time to backup your data or entire hard drive is not as painstaking as it may
seem. And the rewards of doing so will be great should your system experience a crash.
Windows and Other Backup Software
If you have Windows XP you will need to install the new Windows backup utility from the
Windows XP cdrom. Just place the WinXP cdrom in your cdrom drive and locate the line D:VALEADDMSFTNTBACKUP.
Here you see the first letter as D but if your optical drive has a different drive letter,
exchange the D with your drive's letter. To install the utility, click on the file named NTBackup.msi.
The backup utility will be installed to the system tools group. Click Start, All Programs,
Accessories, System Tools, and Backup. There is a neat wizard that will walk you through
the backup process.
WinXP's backup utility will backup your entire hard drive and will make a recovery disk to boot.
Iincremental or Differential Backups
You should back up your entire hard drive when you perform your first backup. After that
it is best to perform an Incremental backup. This type of backup only allows you to backup
files that have changed since your last performed backup.
Differential Backups copy changed files that have been added since you last did your
entire backup. This type of backup is more detailed than incremental backups and is easier
Backup Storage Devices
You can backup your files on cdroms and have the files compressed to save both space and
backup time. WinXP will compress folders, subfolders, and files during backup.
You can purchase compression software that will do the same, saving you cdrom storage
space. The compressed files are automatically uncompressed once they are restored onto
your hard drive.
You can also use a second hard drive as your backup storage device. We use two backup hard
drives to be certain Ultimate PC Repair is up and running 24/7.
You can either purchase an internal hard drive and install it to your ide cable, or you
may want to purchase an external hard drive that connects to your Universal Serial Bus or
The advantage of the external drives is that they have very large amounts of storage
space, transfer data fast, and can be moved from your computer to any other computer.
We use the Western Digital 170 Gigabyte External Hard Drive and we simply bounce it around
to either one of our four computers with the greatest of ease.