Backing Up with XP
Windows XP has a nicely integrated backup program which makes it easy to back up your files once a week, without any work at all!
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First, go to Start - All Programs - Accessories - System Tools - Backup. That is where the backup program lives.
Leave the program in Wizard mode and hit NEXT.
You want to do back up files and settings.
Choose the "let me choose" option. You can actually pick and choose individual diectories and files to back up. The aim here is not to back up everything - just choose your individual documents you care about, and your mail file. On my system I store all my personal documents and files in a LISADATA directory to keep them organized. I definitely recommend doing something like that on your system, with subdirectories in there if necessary. That way you can back up that one area and know you've gotten everything important.
Now you have to choose where to save this backup information. Make sure you store it on a DIFFERENT drive. That is, if you are backing up data from your C drive, do not put the backup file onto the C drive. Otherwise if your C drive crashes you lose both your original data and your backup file too. It's very cheap to buy a plug-in external drive to use for backups.
Move on to the final screen. Go into Advanced. First, tell it this is a normal backup. Next, have it do a verify so that you can be sure the backup wroked properly. Choose to append to the existing one - that way you don't lose the previous backup.
Then you can say "later". This lets you set a schedule of daily, weekly, monthly at a certain time. I highly recommend at LEAST weekly backups if not daily backups. With weekly, the most you can lose at any time is a full week's worth of work. That is certainly going to be stressful enough!
If you don't have a "backup" icon:
The first thing to do is to make sure you have your Windows XP fully updated. If you go into Start - All Programs, up at the very top of the list should be a "Windows Update" link. Make sure you're all updated.
Then once you've done that, go into Start - control panel, and into the add/remove programs area. There should be an option there to work with Windows components. Make sure the backup component is checked (it probably isn't). You might poke around in there and see what else you want to enable, there are lots of nifty Windows components that are very useful. That will then get backup running on your system!
To simply copy files somewhere safe:
In terms of copying the file, when you drag and drop an item, hold down the CONTROL button while you're doing it. That will force the item to copy.
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