How to Backup Windows XP Home Edition
By Stephen Bucaro
Your computer cost you from hundreds to thousands of dollars, but the computer itself is
not the most valuable part. The data on the hard disk is the most valuable part. How many
hours of work did you put into creating that data? One little event, like a power line
spike from a lightning strike, and all that work could be lost. Unfortunately, backing up
with Windows XP Home Edition is not as simple as it should be.
The first step is to choose a backup device. You might choose a tape drive or a DVD drive,
but those devices might require drivers to be installed before you could restorefrom them.
The simplest option is to install a second hard drive in your computer.
The second hard drive doesn't have to be equal to your main hard drive. You can use an older,
smaller hard drive as the backup device, as long as the backup drive has more "Free Space"
than the main hard drive has "Used Space".
Install a Second Hard Drive
When installing a second hard drive in your computer, it's important to configure the drives
correctly. Your motherboard should have two ATA (sometimes called IDE) connectors. The primary
connector should have a cable with two drive connectors. The end connector should go to your
main hard drive, the middle connector can be used for a backup hard drive. The second
motherboard ATA connector should go to your CD-ROM.
On the back of each hard drive is a jumper. The jumper on your main hard drive should be
set to the "Master" position. The jumper on your backup hard drive should be set to "Slave"
position. Most modern computers use "Cable Select", so you can set both jumpers to the
"Cable Select" position. Don't forget the power connector for the second drive.
When you restart your computer, the second drive should be automatically recognized and be
designated with the next drive letter available, usually E: (D: being used for the CD-ROM drive).
Format the Second Hard Drive
Generally, you will want to re-format the second hard drive after installation to remove any
previously installed operating system and to remove any previous file access rights. To format
the drive, select Start | Settings | Control Panel | Administration Tools | Computer Management.
In the Computer Management window, under Storage, click on Disk Management.
Right click on the backup disk's drive letter. In the popup menu, select All Tasks | Format...
In the Warning dialog box that appears, click on the Yes button. In the Format
dialog box, in the File system drop-down list, select NTFS. Click on the OK
button. Again, in the Warning dialog box that appears, click on the Yes button.