How To Backup Files in Windows XP

Do I really need to explain why it is important to backup files in windows xp ?? Well there are many reasons why you need to backup your files, here are a few of them,,

-If your hard-drive becomes faulty you will lose all your data
-It could be possible you delete the files be accident, We have all done it.
-Files can become corrupt and unreadable
-A virus could infect your files and even delete them

Some company’s have gone out of business because of extreme data lose, lets make sure its not you. Well help is on hand as data backup has become more reliable recently.



How To Backup Files in Windows XP Contents

1 – What files do I need to backup in windows xp
 2 – Tips for windows xp backups
 3 – How to backup files in windows xp
 4 – Backup FAQs

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1- What files do I need to backup in windows xp

Backup My Documents – By default when you click on file > save as in an application it will default to saving the files in your my documents. So it is very important to backup my documents as this is where all of your personal data will sit.

Backup E-mail Files – Backing up your emails is very important, None of us would like to loose all of our e-mails. Outlook .pst files (The file where all your e-mails are kept) are known for becoming corrupt quite frequently, Also when they get to 2gig in size there is a high chance they will get corrupt.?

Backup System Files – I dont think its very important to backup the system files, As long as you take an “Image” of your system I think this is enough. But it is always a good idea to backup everything if you can just to be on the safe side.

Backup Misc Data Files – You might have created a folder and keep files in there. If you have make sure you remember the location so we can back it up.

Backup System Registry – The windows xp system registry keeps all the information of your system, config / programs installed and so on. Sometimes you might go in to the registry and accidentally the wrong keys, or it is possible that the registry becomes corrupt.

Backup Desktop Icons – Do you save documents to your desktop?? If yes you will need to backup your desktop.

Backup Internet Favourites – Do you have many Internet favourites / bookmarks saved??

Backup Internet Cookies – You might want to backup these up as well, they store passwords for certain sites, It is possible you might delete the cookie then forget the password to your site.

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2 – Tips for windows xp backups

Here are a few tips on how you can have a successful and safe backup

1. Backup the files to a different media. For example if your files are stored on one hard-drive back them up to another hard-drive, because if you back them up to the same hard-drive and that hard drive fails you have lost all your data.

2. Backup files to more than one media, for example backup your files to another hard-disk then to a tape. If you have a years worth of backups on one hard-drive and that drive crashes you will lose all your years backups.

3. If your backups fail check the logs and find out why!! In my experience backups fail mostly because of corrupt files, run a check disk on the computer the files are on.

4. Test your backups, every now and then restore some data and check if all the files are there and that you can use them. The last thing you want to do is restore the files in an emergency and find out there is a problem.

5. Run regular backups, Every day if you can.

6. Make sure you have plenty of spare disk space to store your backups on.

7. Backing up to tape? Make sure you label your tapes correctly. And try not to put lots of backups on one tape, If that tape is faulty you could lose all your backups

8. Create a backup schedule and monitor it to make sure backups are finishing successfully and also on time.

9. How to access the built in windows xp backup package.

If you have Windows XP Professional, Backup utility is installed by default but in Windows XP Home it is not. However, Backup utility is provided with the CD.

Go to CD-ROM Drive:\VALUEADD\MSFT\NTBACKUP and double click Ntbackup.msi to start the Backup utility.

Follow this procedure to backup data using Backup utility:

Step 1: Click Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Backup.

Step 2: Click Next in the first page and choose ‘Back up Files and Settings’ in the second page.

Step 3: In the third page, you will be asked what to backup. If you have the habit of keeping all important files in your ‘My Documents’ folder and you want to backup only important files then choosing ‘My documents and settings’ would be more appropriate. Else if you want to manually choose the files and folders you want to backup, choose the option ‘Let me choose what to backup’.

Step 4: If you are manually choosing the folders, click all the folders you want to backup.

Step 5: On the next screen you will be asked to choose the backup type, Destination and Name. You won’t be using Tapes or Floppy Disks. You may select an external hard disk or another partition in the same hard disk. If the backup file size is small you may choose small portable pen drive such as USB hard drives.

Step 6: Windows XP does not support to write the backup file to a CD directly. So if you want to have the backup in a CD or DVD, create the backup file in the same hard disk and burn it in a CD or DVD.

 If you have dedicated external hard disk for backup you can set a schedule to backup regularly. On the last page of backup utility before clicking Finish, Click Advanced -> When to Back up -> Later -> Set Schedule -> Schedule Job. Set the schedule and Click Ok.

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3 – How to backup files in windows xp

How to backup every file in windows xp

Backup Method 1 – Image your install of windows xp, This is what I would recommend doing to backup windows xp.
 Using a program called Norton ghost it is possible to take an entire copy of your system, this means if one day your windows xp wont boot you can fix this by loading the image of your system that you took before the error occurred. Norton ghost you will have to pay for, there are also free alternatives but I have not tried any out, search for them on google.

Below is a screenshot of Norton ghost in action



To take an image of your windows xp do the following. Install the ghost program, Next open the program and click on “Norton ghost boot wizard” select standard boot wizard > next, then no usb support (Im not to sure about this option, Even theo you select no usb support you can still use usb??) and click next. Select use pc dos and next. Dont enter any parameters and click next. Select your floppy drive then click next.

Dont have a floppy drive?? Then create a bootable usb stick or CD-ROM and make sure you copy the ghost.exe file to it. Now boot to the device and type in ghost.exe at the command prompt.

This will start the ghost program. Now in the menu select Local > Disk > To Image. Then select where you want to save the image. I would recommend saving to a separate hard-drive, CD-ROM or usb storage. Simply select the drive you want to save to, then down the bottom type in what file name you want to give it. Then click ok, Make sure you select high compression.

Now if you want to restore an image boot to the ghost program, Then select from the menu Local > Disk > From Image. Then browse to where you saved the image and click ok. The next screen will ask you how big you want your partitions, by default they will show as per what you had before you took the image, so you dont need to edit this setting just click next. Warning reloading an image will overwrite everything on your system, only do so if you are sure you need to.

Backup Method 2 – Use the built in windows xp backup program.

Step 1: Click Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Backup.
 Step 2: Click Next in the first page and choose ‘Back up Files and Settings’ in the second page.
 Step 3: Select “All information on this computer” click next
 Step 4: Enter a location, I recommend using another media (Hard-disk, Tape drive) from what you are backing up. Give a good name for the backup like “System Backup 25 June 2008” so you can identify later exactly what the backup is. Click next.
 Step 5: Click Finish

Backup Method 3 – Use XCOPY to backup files in windows xp.

Using xcopy it is possible to backup every file on your system but I do not recommend using this method as it can be a bit complicated and you are better off using the build in backup program for windows xp.

 To access xcopy click on start > run > type in cmd and press enter. Now in the black window type in “xcopy /?” without the “. This will give you all the available options to you. You will need to run something like the following

xcopy C:\ D:\ /s /c /q /g /h /r /o /y

The C:\ drive is your source and the D:\ drive is the destination that you are backing up to. If possible I would recommend that the D: drive is a different physical disk. If you run the above command it will backup everything on your C: drive automatically, I would recommend running this command 2 or three times just to make sure all of your data has been backed up.

How to backup my documents in windows xp

Backup Method 1 – Use the built in windows xp backup program. Click the start menu then programs > Accessories > System Tools > Backup. Select next > select Backup Files and settings, Next > Select my documents and settings, Next > Click on browse and select a location to backup your my documents to, I would recommend backing up your data to a different physical disk / media if possible. Type a name for the backup, Give it a structured name such as “My Documents Backup 01/02/2008? So it will make it easier for you if you wish to restore your data. > Click next then finish.

Backup Method 2 – Manually backup the files. Right click on the my documents folder on your desktop and select copy, then paste the files on to another location on your system. If you keep a large amount of data in your my documents folder I would recommend using method 1 or 3.

Backup Method 3 – Use xcopy to backup your my documents. If you have a large amount of data in your my documents folder I would recommend backing up your data using the xcopy command as it is a more reliable way of backing data up than using method 2.
 To access xcopy click on start > run > type in cmd and press enter. Now in the black window type in

xcopy “%userprofile%\My Documents” “D:\Backup\” /s /c /q /g /h /r /o /y

This will copy all your my documents data to D:\Backup\ if you want to change where the data is being backed up to simply change D:\Backup to point to where you want.

Welcome to part 2 of  How To Backup Files in Windows XP, If you missed part 1 you can read that article here

How to backup Outlook / E-mails

To be able to backup your e-mails you need to know where your .pst file is and what it is named as (Your .pst file is the file that stores all of your e-mails). Go in to the control panel, Start > Settings > Control Panel, and then click on mail. Then click on Data Files, Now note down the full path and file name of the .pst file.?

Is there no .pst file there?? or you think you might be using another .pst file?? Then we can search your whole computer for .pst files. Click on start > Search > For files and folders. Click on the “All files and folders” link on the left, then in the top search box enter *.pst and then click enter. Note down all the paths and file names of all your .pst files.

Backup Method 1 – Manually copy the pst files. Make sure your outlook is closed down, because if it is open outlook will have a lock on the .pst file and the backup should fail. Using explorer browse to where the pst file is located, right click on it and select copy, then paste it in to another location and preferably on a different physical hard-drive / media.

Backup Method 2 – Use the build in windows xp backup program. Click start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Backup, Click Backup wizard / next, select backup selected files, Next, Now browse to where the .pst file is located and tick the box next to it, Click Next. Select a folder where you want to backup the .pst file to, I recommend backing up to another physical hard-drive or removable media. Give the backup job a good name, for example something like “E-mail backup 01/01/2008? so if you need to restore you can easily identify which backup you will need to use. Click next then finish and the backup will now run.

Backup Method 3 – Use xcopy, using windows xp xcopy it is possible to backup your .pst file. Click on the start menu then run and type in cmd and press enter, then in the black window type in the following.

xcopy C:\myemails.pst D:\Data\ /c /f /g /h /i

Replace C:\myemails.pst with the location and full name of your .pst file, And also replace D:\Data\ with the folder you wish to copy to.

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How to backup System Files

Backup Method 1 – Image your install of windows xp, This is what I would recommend doing to backup windows xp.

 Using a program called Norton ghost it is possible to take an entire copy of your system, this means if one day your windows xp wont boot you can fix this by loading the image of your system that you took before the error occurred. Norton ghost you will have to pay for, there are also free alternatives but I have not tried any out, search for them on google.

To take an image of your windows xp do the following. Install the ghost program, Next open the program and click on “Norton ghost boot wizard” select standard boot wizard > next, then no usb support (Im not to sure about this option, Even theo you select no usb support you can still use usb??) and click next. Select use pc dos and next. Dont enter any parameters and click next. Select your floppy drive then click next.

Dont have a floppy drive?? Then create a bootable usb stick or CD-ROM and make sure you copy the ghost.exe file to it. Now boot to the device and type in ghost.exe at the command prompt.

This will start the ghost program. Now in the menu select Local > Disk > To Image. Then select where you want to save the image. I would recommend saving to a separate hard-drive, CD-ROM or usb storage. Simply select the drive you want to save to, then down the bottom type in what file name you want to give it. Then click ok, Make sure you select high compression.
 Now if you want to restore an image boot to the ghost program, Then select from the menu Local > Disk > From Image. Then browse to where you saved the image and click ok. The next screen will ask you how big you want your partitions, by default they will show as per what you had before you took the image, so you dont need to edit this setting just click next. Warning reloading an image will overwrite everything on your system, only do so if you are sure you need to.

Backup Method 2 – Use the built in windows xp backup program.

Step 1: Click Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Backup.
Step 2: Click Next in the first page and choose ‘Back up Files and Settings’ in the second page.
Step 3: Select “All information on this computer” click next
Step 4: Enter a location, I recommend using another media (Hard-disk, Tape drive) from what you are backing up. Give a good name for the backup like “System Backup 25 June 2008” so you can identify later exactly what the backup is. Click next.
Step 5: Click Finish

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How to backup Misc Data

Backup Method 1 – Manually copy the data. Browse to where the data is then on the root folder right click and select copy, then browse to where you want to copy the files to and right click and select paste.

Backup Method 2 – Use the built in backup program for windows xp

Step 1: Click Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Backup.
Step 2: Click Next in the first page and choose ‘Back up Files and Settings’ in the second page.
Step 3: Select “Backup select files” click next
Step 4: Select the files you want to backup, Click Next
Step 5: Enter a location, I recommend using another media (Hard-disk, Tape drive) from what you are backing up. Give a good name for the backup like “System Backup 25 June 2008” so you can identify later exactly what the backup is. Click next.
Step 6: Click Finish and the backup will start to run.

Backup Method 3 – Use xcopy, using windows xp xcopy it is possible to backup your misc data. Click on the start menu then run and type in cmd and press enter, then in the black window type in the following.

xcopy C:\mydata\*.* D:\Data\ /c /f /g /h /i

The above command will copy all data in the “mydata” folder. Change the C:\mydata\ to where your data is located, Also change D:\Data to where you want the backup to go to.

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How to backup System Registry

Backup Method 1 – In windows NT, 2000 and XP not possible to back up registry files while the operating system is running. Registry files remain fully locked all the time while Windows is running, But here You can use an integrated Windows XP’s System Restore feature for registry backup.

But using registry editor (regedit.exe) you can to export partial or complete copies of the registry, while the Windows is up, and the exported files can then be backed up with any other traditional file backup utility. You can follow these simple steps to back up the whole registry or any particular registry subkey:

Click Start button and then type Regedit in Run option.  Locate and then click the root subkey that contains all the child subkeys and values that you want to back up. On the File menu, click Export.  In the Save box, you can select the location where you want to save the Registration Entries (.reg) file, type a file name in the File name box, and then click Save.

The exported registry file is about 10-50 MB in size on a typical Windows NT/2000/XP installation.

How to backup desktop icons

Backup Method 1 – Manually copy the files. Right click on your start menu and select explore. Then just under the folder that is named the same as your login there will be a desktop folder. Right click on this folder and select copy, then paste the files in the location you want the backup to be.

Backup Method 2 – Use the built in backup program for windows xp

Step 1: Click Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Backup.
 Step 2: Select backup wizard, Click Next in the first page and choose ‘Back up Selected files’ in the second page.
 Step 3: Tick all the files on the right hand side, Click Next
 Step 4: Enter a location, I recommend using another media (Hard-disk, Tape drive) from what you are backing up. Give a good name for the backup like “Desktop Files Backup 25 June 2008” so you can identify later exactly what the backup is. Click next.
 Step 5: Click Finish and the backup will start to run.

Backup Method 3 – Use xcopy, using windows xp xcopy it is possible to backup your desktop data. Click on the start menu then run and type in cmd and press enter, then in the black window type in the following.

xcopy “%userprofile%\Desktop” “D:\Data\” /c /f /g /h

The above command will backup all data in the desktop folder. Change the D:\Data to where you want the backup to go to.

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How to backup Internet Favourites

Backup Method 1 – Internet Explorer – Open Internet Explorer, in the menu at the top click on File > Import and Export. To save it just choose a backup location. To restore it navigate to that backup location.

Backup Method 2 – Manually copy the files. Right click on your start menu and select explore. Then just under the folder that is named the same as your login there will be a favourites folder. Right click on this folder and select copy, then paste the files in the location you want the backup to be.

Backup Method 3 – Use the built in backup program for windows xp

Step 1: Click Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Backup.
 Step 2: Select backup wizard, Click Next in the first page and choose ‘Back up Selected files’ in the second page.
 Step 3: Browse to C:\Document and Settings\%Username% and tick the box next to the favourites folder, Click next
 Step 4: Enter a location, I recommend using another media (Hard-disk, Tape drive) from what you are backing up. Give a good name for the backup like “Favourites Files Backup 25 June 2008” so you can identify later exactly what the backup is. Click next.
 Step 5: Click Finish and the backup will start to run.

Backup Method 4 – Use xcopy, using windows xp xcopy it is possible to backup your favourites. Click on the start menu then run and type in cmd and press enter, then in the black window type in the following.

xcopy “%userprofile%\Favourites” “D:\Data\” /c /f /g /h

The above command will backup all data in the desktop folder. Change the D:\Data to where you want the backup to go to.

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How to backup Internet Cookies

Backup Method 1 – Manually copy the files. Right click on your start menu and select explore. Then just under the folder that is named the same as your login there will be a cookies folder. Right click on this folder and select copy, then paste the files in the location you want the backup to be.

Backup Method 2 – Use the built in backup program for windows xp

Step 1: Click Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Backup.
 Step 2: Select backup wizard, Click Next in the first page and choose ‘Back up Selected files’ in the second page.
 Step 3: Browse to C:\Document and Settings\%Username% and tick the box next to the cookies folder, Click next
 Step 4: Enter a location, I recommend using another media (Hard-disk, Tape drive) from what you are backing up. Give a good name for the backup like “Cookies Files Backup 25 June 2008” so you can identify later exactly what the backup is. Click next.
 Step 5: Click Finish and the backup will start to run.

Backup Method 3- Use xcopy, using windows xp xcopy it is possible to backup your cookies. Click on the start menu then run and type in cmd and press enter, then in the black window type in the following.

xcopy “%userprofile%\Cookies” “D:\Data\” /c /f /g /h

The above command will backup all data in the desktop folder. Change the D:\Data to where you want the backup to go to.

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4 – Backup FAQs

Q. What media can I backup my files to?
 A. There are many devices / media you can back up to, below is a list of them
 Another physical hard-disk – I prefer to use this backup media as backups run faster than backing up to tapes. Warning Never back up data to the same physical disk, If that disk dies you will lose all your data and all your backups.

Tape Drive – You can attach an external / internal tape drive to your system to back your files up to

USB Stick – If you dont have much data you can backup your data to a USB stick. I believe the largest usb stick around at time of writing (09/07/2008) is 32gig

External USB Hard-Drive – These are very cheap these days,

CD-ROM – You can use your CD-ROM it is it a writer.

Another Computer – Can you map a drive to another computer??

Q. How do I access the built in backup program in windows vista??
 A. In Vista taking a backup is much easier than Windows XP. Vista allows taking backup in CD and DVD as well.

Follow this procedure to backup data using Backup utility:

Step 1: Go to Control Panel -> ‘Backup and Restore Centre’ and Choose Backup Files.

Step 2: Windows will search all possible places where you can take a backup copy and it will list it the next screen. If you want to take the backup in the network, you can browse and choose the destination for backup.

Step 3: Choose the drives you want to backup and choose the type of files you want to backup. System files, executable files won’t be backed up and backup can be done only from NTFS region.

Step 4: In the next screen choose how often you want to take backup and click ‘Save settings and start backup’.

How To Backup Files in Windows XP How To Backup Files in Windows XP Reviewed by Citrix Tips on 12:44 Rating: 5

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