Making sure that your data and your system are safe and sound is a never-ending battle. The costs of data backup can go as high as you could imagine, and depending on how important your data is to you, you may find yourself spending $0 -> thousands of dollars. This guide will help you get on the right track when it comes to data backup, and allow you to expand on it in the future if you wish.
What to Do
In this guide, we're going to focus on the budget method of performing back-ups. While you can purchase special backup and cloning software, Windows OS has an integrated back-up tool to help you save and recover your data in case of system failures. Chances are you've already purchased a Windows 7 license, therefore it may not be necessary to buy additional software. Keep in mind that the integrated Back-up tool is somewhat limited in what it can do. Also, addition of hardware RAID can sometimes cause problems. It is meant for basic back-up operations. If your system requires more advanced methods, you may want to look into third party software/hardware.
Using Windows Backup
You can access the Windows Backup feature in the following manner :
Left click on Windows Logo (Start) > Type in search: backup > Click on Backup and Restore
Backup center looks like this :
Based on what you want to do, you can select different options from this menu. If you simply wish to create a frequent back-up of certain data such as pictures, music, documents and others, then you may just want to click on Set Up Backup. It should take Windows a few seconds to start this service.
Windows will automatically scan all possible devices that can be used for backup. This includes external and internal hard drives (non-OS), flash drives, optical drives, etc. You can even use a network location such as a file server or a mapped drive to store the files there. This is how the backup Window looks:
You can set the back-up to be scheduled frequently or a one time thing if you wish to perform it manually.
Creating System Image
If you wish to create the backup of the entire Windows installation, you can do so using the options on the left hand side in the Back and Restore Window.
This option consists of 2 parts. First part is creating an actual system image, where as the second part is creating a repair disc.
The way this procedure works is that in case of a disk failure or other problems, you would recover your data by first booting the computer from the repair disc. After the Windows recovery environment has booted, you can then navigate inside it to find your system image. Re-loading process should take a few minutes, after which you should be able to restart the system and boot into Windows.
Just like partial backup, you can choose where you want to store the entire image of your system. Choices are hard drives, optical drives and a network location. Since the image file is likely to be in excess of 13GB, it is wise to use a hard drive or a network location. Using DVDs or even CDs would take a long time and you have a possibility of having bad CDs/DVDs resulting in a corruption of the entire image.
Creating a repair disc is very simple. Just put in a writable CD and begin the process. You will need to boot from this CD when you decide to recover your image. If you're not sure how to boot from the CD, please refer to your motherboard's manual that shows you how to modify boot options. Some motherboards allow for a boot menu access by pressing a certain key such as F8 or F12. If you don't have something like this, you may need to enter the motherboard BIOS and make the boot changes there.
*Disclaimer: AVADirect and its Staff are not responsible for any damage to software/hardware, loss of data or personal injury by following our How-To guides. These guides are provided only as an aid to help you troubleshoot system problems. If you do not feel comfortable performing these steps its always best to send in your system to a local repair shop or contact an appropriate technical support line for additional assistance.