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    How to make a backup in Microsoft Windows 7

    October 14, 2013 2:31 pm Published by Comments Off on How to make a backup in Microsoft Windows 7

    In the modern age, we entrust more and more of our lives to data – years of work, hundreds of photos, a carefully selected playlist of your favourite songs – and assume that the hardware it’s written to will endure. So when your work life or your personal life is lost forever to something as seemingly trivial as a hardware fault, it can feel like great swathes of your very existence has been wiped away in an instance, amounting to nothing.

    Remembering to make regular backups is the too-often-ignored mantra of IT specialists the world over (second only to “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”) but creating one can seem like a daunting or tedious job. Thankfully, recent versions of Microsoft’s Windows operating system contains a number of useful tools to make backing up your hard drives a painless, seamless and automatic activity. For our example, let’s use Windows 7 though the process is very similar in all the later versions of Windows.

    Making a backup

    Open your start menu and select ‘System and Security’, click on ‘Backup and Restore’ from the next screen. The menu screen you are presented with now should be divided into two parts, respectively named (as you may suspect): Backup and Restore.

    The Backup panel shows you which drive your computer has hitherto been writing the backup image (a snapshot of your main drive), as well as the size of the image and remaining space on that drive. If you want to create a backup right away, simply click ‘Back up now’. This panel gives you information about when and what (if anything) the OS has been backing up by default. Clicking on ‘Change Settings’ will take you through a wizard tool to select which drives get backed up, where the backups are saved to as well as what files and folders are being backed up.

    You can adjust these however you see fit, though by default Windows will back up all the personal files that you have created since purchasing the computer on a weekly basis. If you notice that your backup drive is running out of space, click on ‘Create a system repair disk’ from the left-hand menu which will guide you through the process of saving a backup to a blank CD or (more preferably) a DVD.

    Cloud storage

    If you don’t use Windows or simply want alternatives, cloud storage is an increasingly reliable and robust way of backing up your data. In bygone days, services like Dropbox and Google Drive were merely temporary holding areas for your files whilst you moved between computers or locations. A constantly growing provision of free storage per user and easy to use interfaces mean that it’s now possible to use cloud storage services as a backup repository for all your personal files.

    Prevention is always better than a cure and, whilst it’s sometimes possible to recover the data from a degraded or corrupted hard disk, these processes are not perfect and may not always work properly. Following these simple steps will ensure that your computer is always ready to restore itself in full should the worst happen to your hard drive.

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