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Back up and protect your data

Back up your files and settings
Protect your irreplaceable documents, email, images and program preferences

FEATURE INDEX
Introduction
The why and where of backing up
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Back up files and settings
Protect your irreplaceable documents, email, images and program preferences
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Back up to the internet
Discover which online tools offer the best value and features for your money
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More back-up tools, tips and techniques
Back up different versions of the same file and more
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Copy your hard drive
Drive imaging tools enable you to back up your entire Windows installation
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Free backup is finally here.  Mozy Remote Backup.
Genie Backup Manager Home v8.0
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here's no need to back up every single file on your computer - although if you'd like to do so, we show you how later on in this feature. The most important job you have to do is back up your documents, pictures, email and other personal files that can't otherwise be easily recreated. It's also possible to back up key program settings too, so you don't have to waste time setting up applications, email accounts or web bookmarks again should disaster strike.
 
   All of this takes time and effort if done by hand, which is why you want a program to do all the hard work for you. Vista users are well served by Windows itself here - the Backup and Restore Center is much improved on previous versions of Windows, and is easy to set up and configure as we'll see shortly.
 
   If you're running an earlier version of Windows, then you'll need to source your own software. The step-by-step guide below features Genie Backup Manager 5 Professional, which occasionally appears on magazine cover discs. If you don't have a copy, or would like to use Genie with Windows Vista, try the latest version - click the ad link opposite to find out more and download a trial version.

Step-by-step: Back up your data with Genie Backup Manager


1. FIRST STEPS


2. PICK BACK-UP LOCATION


3. CHOOSE WHAT TO BACK UP


4. OTHER OPTIONS


5. BACK UP AND VERIFY


6. SCHEDULE AUTOMATIC BACKUPS



Back up in Vista
Vista users who've not yet put a back-up plan in place should immediately click the Start button and type backup into the Search box. From the list that appears, click Backup Status and Configuration. You'll be told that automatic backup hasn't been set up, so click Set up automatic file backup to begin.
 
   Click Continue when prompted and the tool will scan for available back-up devices: hard drives (internal and external) plus any CD/DVD burners that are present, plus - in all editions except Vista Home Basic - a network drive. Make your choice and click Next.
 
   Next, choose those drives that contain data you wish to back up - your system drive is automatically included, but if you have any other drives or partitions you can specify whether to include them or not by ticking or unticking the relevant drives before clicking Next again.
 
   The next screen gives you the opportunity to choose exactly what will be backed up - roll the mouse over an option to see what files and settings it will store. The tool is pretty comprehensive, but some file types are inexplicably missed, which can cause problems with some non-Microsoft products. Firefox and Thunderbird users, for example, won't be able to back up key preferences thanks to the tool's failure to back up .js files. If you're not slavishly pro-Microsoft in your program choices, consider using Genie Backup Manager 8 instead.
 
   Once you've chosen which files to back up - if in doubt, leave everything ticked - click Next. Again, Vista Home Basic users are left a little short here, because the tool can't be scheduled to run automatically, but if you're running Vista Home Premium or later you can back up on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Depending on how often you edit and change files, make your choice: remember, you'll only ever be able to restore your data at the point your last backup was taken, so weekly is probably the best compromise for most. Click Save settings and start backup, and Vista will get to work.


Archiving to disc


Restore files
Restoring files from your backup is done from the same tool - click Restore Files and then follow the various options. You can restore files on to a different computer, or even restore older versions of files from previous backups.
 
   Genie users should click the Restore button and select your chosen back-up job from the list (if you've recently had to reinstall Windows, you'll need to manually load the back-up job from the folder your backup is stored in). Follow the wizard through, and when prompted to restore individual folders, make sure you select Alternative from the "Restore files to" drop-down box if you're restoring to a different folder than that the backup was originally taken from.

Step-by-step: Duplicate back-up jobs in Genie


1. LOCATE BACK-UP JOBS


2. CREATE DUPLICATES


3. CHANGE DUPLICATE'S SETTINGS







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