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How to back up files and recover data

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How to back up files and recover data

Post by tammy on Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:35 am

Even computer novices know that file backups are important in case of hard drive crashes, but many people wonder exactly how to back up files and how to recover data. This article covers the Backup and Restore feature in Windows 7 and in Windows Vista, which can help save you a lot of time and trouble. It also focuses on how to back up Microsoft Outlook files and how to back up files in the cloud. All of these tools and processes can all help with data recovery in the event that something happens to your computer.
Picture of a man who looks worried
Why backups are important

Files can be lost from your computer in any number of ways—you might accidentally delete a file, or a virus might wipe one out. You can also have a complete hard drive failure. When a hard drive dies an untimely death, it's kind of like having your house burn down. Important personal items are usually gone forever—family photos, significant documents, downloaded music, and more.

Thankfully it's a really simple process these days to back up your content to a second, separate location. By doing so, your files can be protected against viruses or complete computer failure. This makes it easy to retrieve and place them on a new hard drive and get going again.

Today, there are many options for backing up your content. You don't need any sophisticated equipment—you can use CDs, DVDs, external hard drives, flash drives, network drives, or even online storage like Windows Live SkyDrive. It might be a good idea to back up your data to multiple places. For example, you might choose to back up your content onto both an external hard drive and to an online storage site.
Back up files to the cloud

Windows Live SkyDrive is one option available if you choose to back up your data to an online storage space. A couple of additional storage options from Microsoft include Hotmail, which offers enough storage for you to store your email, calendar, and contacts, and Windows Live Mesh, which lets you sync all your files and folders across your PCs and devices and provides enough cloud storage for your most important files. If you need extra space, do a little research, and choose the online storage spot that best fits your needs.
Windows Backup and Restore

Windows comes with a very cool feature called Backup and Restore, which has been improved for Windows 7. To open Backup and Restore in Windows 7, in the Search box, type Backup, and then click the item in the results list. In Windows Vista, click the Start button, and you should see Backup and Restore Center in the menu. Or just type the phrase into the Search box, and click the item from the results to open it.

What makes the Backup and Restore feature so cool is that it simplifies the entire backup process for you. With easy-to-follow steps and prompts, you can decide whether to back up specific files or your entire computer.

It's a good idea to back up your entire computer when you first set it up. This option captures everything from files to software programs to system settings. If your computer ever stops working completely, you can potentially restore it using the initial entire computer backup.

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