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Back up your files in Windows 7

To make sure you don't lose the files that you create, modify, and store on your computer, you should back them up regularly. You can manually back up your files any time or set up automatic backups.

  1. Click the Start button
  2. Click on All Programs
  3. Click on Maintenance
  4. Click on Backup and Restore

Do one of the following:

  • If you have never used Windows Backup before, click Set up backup, and then follow the steps in the wizard. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • If you have created a backup before, you can wait for your regularly scheduled backup to occur, or you can manually create a new backup by clicking Back up now. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Notes:

  • We recommend that you don't back up your files to the same hard disk that Windows is installed on.
  • Always store media used for backups (external hard disks, DVDs, or CDs) in a secure place to prevent unauthorized people from having access to your files; we recommend a fireproof location separate from your computer. You might also consider encrypting the data on your backup.

To create a new, full backup

After you create your first backup, Windows Backup will add new or changed information to your subsequent backups. If you're saving your backups on a hard drive or network location, Windows Backup will create a new, full backup for you automatically when needed. If you're saving your backups on CDs or DVDs and can't find an existing backup disc, or if you want to create a new backup of all of the files on your computer, you can create a full backup. Here's how to create a full backup:

  1. Open Backup and Restore.
  2. In the left pane, click Create new, full backup.

Note:
You will only see this option if your backup is being saved on CDs or DVDs.

To set up backup after upgrading from a previous version of Windows

After you upgrade Windows, you will need to set up Windows Backup, even if you had a scheduled backup in the previous version of Windows. This is because there are several changes to the backup program. Instead of selecting file types to back up, you can have Windows back up data files saved in libraries, on the desktop, and in default Windows folders, or you can choose specific libraries and folders to be backed up. You can also create a system image of your computer.

To set up your backup, follow these steps:

Open Backup and Restore.

Click Set up backup, and then follow the steps in the wizard. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Ways to store backups
You can back up files to any of the following storage types:

  • Hard disks (internal or external)
  • Other removable disks
  • Writeable DVDs and CDs
  • Network locations

The first three options are often known collectively as media. You can also use an Internet-based file storage service. To decide which option to use, compare convenience, price, and ease of use, and consider the amount and size of files that you want to back up.

Keep backups in a safe location
Always keep removable storage or media used for backups (such as external hard disks, DVDs, or CDs) in a secure place to prevent unauthorized people from having access to your files.

Storage devices

Internal hard disks
You can install (or have someone else install) a second internal hard disk in your computer and use it to back up files. Hard disks are relatively inexpensive and are not affected if you have a problem with your operating system. You can even install the disk in another computer if you buy a new computer and you still want to use the disk for backups.

Note:
Never back up files to a location on the same hard disk that Windows is installed on because if your computer gets a virus or has a software failure, you might have to reformat the disk and reinstall Windows to recover from the problem.

External hard disks
If your computer has a USB port, you can attach an external hard disk to it and then back up files to the external disk. Be sure to buy an external hard disk that has plenty of space for your backups (200 GB is a good choice). For maximum protection, keep your external hard disk in a fireproof location separate from the computer.

Writeable discs
You can also save your files to DVDs or CDs. Make sure the discs are writeable, which means that you can add, delete, or change the content. If you decide to use this method and have a lot of files to back up, be sure you have enough discs to finish the job. The Back Up Files wizard tells you how much space you need each time you perform a backup and recommends the type of media to use. If you label the discs with the date and time of the backup, they will be easier to find later. For maximum protection, keep the discs in a fireproof location separate from your computer.

Network locations
If your computer is on a network, you can back up to a network location. Make sure that you have the right permissions for the network and that other users can't access your backup.

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