It is very important to backup your personal files regularly in case they are lost. You could have a Hard Drive failure, or your computer could crash, a virus could delete your files, or your computer could be stolen or damaged.
You should have a least one copy of your most important files backed up. This could be your precious photographs, your music collection, videos, films, spreadsheets, websites etc.
External Hard Drives are useful for backup as well as burning your data to Optical Disks via your DVD. It is also a good idea to backup your data to online storage in case of a fire or theft at your home.
Backup and Restore:
Windows does include a tool called 'Backup and Restore' which creates backups of your important files and saves them. You can select where the important files are located on your computer and where you would like them backed up to, such as an external Hard Drive or a DVD.
You can get to 'Backup and Restore' by clicking 'Start', and typing 'Backup and Restore'
. into the search box, and pressing 'Enter' on the keyboard.
Alternatively, click 'Start', then 'All Programs', and 'Maintenance'.
In Windows 8 enter 'File History' in the search box.
From the 'Backup and Restore' page you can select 'Set up Backup' which will ask you where you want to backup your files (ie a DVD). It then asks what folders & files you want backed up, and gives you the option of letting Windows choose, which will backup files in Libraries, on the Desktop, and in default Windows folders, or you can select 'Let me choose', and select the folders that you want to backup. You can then 'Save settings and run backup'. You can also set up a schedule of how frequently you want to do the backup.
In Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 (search for File History) it also includes 'Create a System Image', and 'Create a System Repair Disk'. See below:
Create a System Image:
When your computer is set up to your liking, then it is a good idea to make a 'System Image' which will make an exact copy of everything on your Drive, and can be used to restore your computer back to its current state. This will restore your operating system as well as your personal programs and files (photos, music, videos etc).
Type in 'Backup and Restore' in the run dialogue box and click on the link. Select 'Create a System Image' and it will ask where you want to save the image, which can be on an external Hard Drive, USB memory stick or on Optical Disks. It then asks which Drives/Partitions that you want to back up, which is usually your C: Drive which contains the Operating System and possible other Drives/Partitions which contain your personal files. It asks to confirm your settings and then creates your System Image. It also asks to 'Create a System Repair Disk'. See below:
Create a System Repair Disk:
To create a System Repair Disk you need a blank disk to be inserted into the Optical Drive (CD/DVD) and to follow the on-screen instructions. Keep this disk in a safe place in case of future problems.
The System Repair Disk is very useful if you cannot boot your computer into Windows or even get into Safe Mode. You just insert your System Repair Disk into the Optical Drive and boot your computer and it will give you a list of recovery tools including 'System Restore'.
Create a Recovery Drive (Windows 10):
Type in 'Create a recovery drive' in the run dialogue box and click on the link. Make sure 'Back up system files to the recovery drive' is selected and then click 'Next'. Connect a USB drive (about 16MB) to your computer, select it, and then select 'Next' and 'Create'. A lot of files need to be copied to the recovery drive, so this might take a while. This will allow you to restore your computer's operating system as it was from new, however it will not restore personal files.
It is also a good idea to backup important files to online storage to protect against fire, flood, damage or theft. There are many online backup services on the internet.