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Windows 7: What do you backup


24 Sep 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium SP 1, 32-bit
 
 
What do you backup

How do you know what to backup. I know they say your data, but on the list you are given, I cannot tell what is data. I did what I thought was right and they said I was out of room - and that was an 8 gb flash drive. I went back to see what WAS backed up and it was incomplete and couldn't open all of it. I know of five things that I want backed up, but don't see them in the list. I googled it, but they went into a far more detailed explanation than I was able to comprehend. Thanks.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Sep 2011   #2

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by PattiChati View Post
How do you know what to backup. Thanks.
PattiChati. I have a basic rule to tell anyone that wants to backup.

If you would weep, cry, knash your teeth or pound your head on the table
if that important photo(s) or document(s) disappeared. then I highly recommend
that you save it or copy it to another media.

It is a darn shame to see grown people cry when you have to tell them that the only copy of the great american novel was on that hard disk that crashed and destroyed all the data on the disk. Or someone broke in and stole their computer.
True case that I can think of was the daughter of a friend who had the only copy of her wedding pictures on her laptop hard disk and someone stole it.

Or, your laptop was stolen at starbucks when you got up to go to the bathroom.

any of the above is more than enough reason to backup your data.

Backing up can be as simple as saving a copy to a removable usb disk or as sophisticated as running a disk imaging program that creates a complete snapshot of your hard disk and stores it on an external hard disk or device.

Rich

PS; they sell at most electronics stores for less than $100 an USB external hard disk that includes a backup program. Just plug it in and in some cases, just push the button and it will search your computer and backup all the graphics and documents.

BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

BackUps, in my own personal view, have 2 different categories.
Personal DATA and System BackUps (or images).


A back up of DATA are things such as..

The My Documents Folder, Pictures, Music, and Videos. Or anyother folder you may have made containing important documents.
Such as reciepts or bank statements.

Basically all personal DATA that can not be or re-installed from disc or download, and would be lost forever if something happened to the HardDrive or PC.
Or in other words, things that are yours and Windows or your applications have no need for to operate.


System backUps, or System Images on the other hand, is a compete image of the Operating System (Windows 7 itself) and all programs you have installed.

Its basically a complete copy of the Hard Drive, not just specific files or folders.


In the event something happens, such as a Virus or the HardDrive fails, Windows can be easily restored to another HD, or the same HD, with everything intact just as it was the day the image was made.

This image would include everything on the Drive.
Windows itself, all of your programs (software), system settings, as well as the activation status of any software, Windows included.


If you have multiple hard drives, it is a good idea to keep the two separated from each other.
This way, all of your personal DATA is away from the OS, and easier to backup and keep organized.
Since Windows does not even need any of these things (it is only your own personal files), it also makes sense in regards to keeping the Windows installation smaller and faster to back up and restore in the event of a problem.

If you have just a single drive, a syetm image will backup everything including your personal files. This may be time consuming though, depending how much is there.


As richnrockville said, and I agree, if its something you know for a fact you do want to loose or can not replace, make sure you have a backup of it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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25 Sep 2011   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium SP 1, 32-bit
 
 

I have an 8 gb usb flash drive and I thought that would be enuf for 2 backups. I am not sure where to go to find my data. It is on my desktop, but I know you can't back up that way. Where do I go to find a list that I can pick from? Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2011   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

If you want to implement a serious backup strategy, you should have about 250GB of external space on an external disk.

The easiest is with images. That is a "catch all" if you have only one partition for the system and data. It is, however, preferable to have a seperate Data Partition. Then you can Image System and User Data at different times depending on the change activity. A sperate data Partition is also useful if your System goes on the blink - for whatever reason. The manipulation of the System Partition will then not effect your user data.

To get you started, have a look at this: Imaging with free Macrium

And if you like to know more about good backup strategies, read this: Imaging strategies
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2011   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1 Build 7601 (SP1)
 
 

You need to place all of the data that you want backed-up into a location where you can find it (and back it up!).

For now, go to C:\Users\yourname and right-click on that folder; select Properties. "Size on disk" will tell you how big it is and whether/how much will fit on your USB stick. If it's too big, then go-in one step further and look at the folders therein to see which ones contain your data (Desktop? Documents? My Music? All of the above?).

The AppData folder (hidden I believe) may have good stuff in it too, but a lot of that is temp files and program data specific to your usage of the PC and maybe not totally urgent for now.

But next you need to buy an external USB hard drive e.g. 500Gb or 1-3Tb and you would use THAT to backup an image of your entire PC, programs, files, settings, windows, everything. That's what you really need e.g. Macrium Reflect or EaseUS ToDo or Acronis True Image:

1. Backup your Files (that you create yourself) every day, or at least whenever you've created anything important!

2. Backup your entire PC (by imaging it to the USB hard drive) whenever you add a program, make changes, etc. but at least once a month if not every week.

Timing of these is all about how much you do and how many hours/days you are willing to spend recovering your position rebuilding your data or PC from the last backup!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2011   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium SP 1, 32-bit
 
 

Is this a good usb external hard drive? Does the 5.0 gbps mean it is just a 5 gb drive. I have a 8 gb flash drive. This one is $100
My Passport Essential SE 1 TB External hard drive - 5.0 Gbps (SuperSpeed USB
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2011   #8

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by PattiChati View Post
Is this a good usb external hard drive? Does the 5.0 gbps mean it is just a 5 gb drive. I have a 8 gb flash drive. This one is $100
My Passport Essential SE 1 TB External hard drive - 5.0 Gbps (SuperSpeed USB
Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 1 TB USB 3.0/2.0 Ultra Portable External Hard Drive (Silver)
$99.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
  • Dual USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 compatibility
  • Connectivity today; speed for tomorrow
  • Up to 3x faster transfer rates with USB 3.0
  • Maximum capacity
  • Automatic, continuous backup
  • Hardware encryption, password protection
so, the drive has the option of using usb 3.0 if you have it. It also has continuous backup which of course will be installed on your machine when you plug it in and run the software included. This could be a bonus for you.

Rich
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2011   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1 Build 7601 (SP1)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by PattiChati View Post
Is this a good usb external hard drive? Does the 5.0 gbps mean it is just a 5 gb drive. I have a 8 gb flash drive. This one is $100
My Passport Essential SE 1 TB External hard drive - 5.0 Gbps (SuperSpeed USB
No, it's not a 5Gb drive, it is a 1 Terabyte drive. Oughta hold many many backups of both files and images.

As a "portable" you pay more than for a Desktop model, and some might argue that 2.5" drives are less robust than 3.5"; I dunno myself.

Anyway if you tell us the make/model of your PC we might advise you a bit better.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2011   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
5.0 Gbps (SuperSpeed USB

That means that the drive has a data Transfer Speed of 5 Gigabits per second. For a normal USB2 that is a lot because USB2 can only transfer 480MB/sec. To fully exploit it you need a USB3 attachment which can handle up to 6GB/sec.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 What do you backup




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