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Windows 7: Things you most need to back up

22 Apr 2015   #1

win7 64 Home Premium
Things you most need to back up

I have a home network with six computers, most of which are used for work. I've never had much trouble with losing data even though I don't use any kind of rigorous back up system. My preferred method of backing things up is just to make copies of important folders and store them on a network drive. I frequently change out hard drives and do a clean install of the OS if anything seems the least bit out of kilter. I would do that for instance if I found any virus or malware (almost never happens). I just put the old hard drive on the shelf in case I want to get something from it later. My primary application I'm running has it's own backup utility which is just for backing up files that I have created using it and some settings.

I don't care about backing up software since that can always be downloaded and reinstalled. I don't want to restore anything from a disk image or anything remotely like that. Here are the folders I make copies of so I can recreate my files if needed.

1) Every thing under C:\Users
2) C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore
3) Any files containing important data which are stored under the program folder.

Is there anything else I should be doing or am I just overlooking a way of doing this that would be vastly easier? I used Carbonite for a while, but finally decided I probably wouldn't be able to figure out how to restore something if I actually needed to.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2015   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

You could certainly use an "automated" application designed to backup ONLY specified folders. You could include or exclude subfolders and certain file extensions as you see fit.

You'd select the destination--presumably somewhere on your internal network, rather than the dreaded cloud.

I assume you have no interest in backing up your Windows installation per se.

Regarding your category 3: what are some examples that you back up from this category?

All I personally back up are emails, bookmarks, and EVERYTHING on my D (data) drive, where I make ALL saves. This would include uninstalled versions of apps I use, since I don't know that they will always be re-downloadable. I separately make an image of my C drive, but I never restore individual files from that image.

I assume anything that you might call "personal data" is under C:\users somewhere?

I've heard of people backing up drivers, but I don't do it personally.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2015   #3
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

The problem with a selective backup is that the day you really need the backup data you will realize that you forgot something. That's why I always image the whole partitions - system and data partitions. Then I can either restore the image or mount the image and pick what I need.

This is a straight forward process that can be scheduled and does not give me any headaches. The imaging process runs in the background and does not bother me and as far as disk space is concerned that is no more a problem either since you can get a 4TB external HDD for less than $100. And the images are compressed anyhow.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Apr 2015   #4
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

I agree with Wolfgang; full backups are much easier and safer. I prefer to image only my boot drive—OS and programs only— and use a folder/file syncing program for my data (I suspect I have a lot more data than Wolfgang does).

Recovering data from Carbonite is easy. The program will compare the data that is still on your computer with the data you have backed up and will download only what is actually needed to be restored.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2015   #5

win7 64 Home Premium

Ok, thanks everyone.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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