I know, backing up your computer is # 1,387 on your list of to do items. I can understand that, I really can. But trust me, you want to back up your computer. I had a friend lose 3 years of digital family photographs when his laptop died. That was really painful. Yeah, he looked at me and said, “Yeah, I know, you told me so.” Don’t get caught in that situation. I am going to give you some different backup strategies. These are mostly geared toward the home user, but could be used for some small businesses.
XP Backup Utility
XP comes with a backup utility. I believe it’s only in the Professional edition. If you put the XP install CD in and go to D:\VALEADD\MSFT\NTBACKUP, you should be able to install the application. There is a file called NTBackup.msi in this folder. Double click that to start the installation. Once it’s installed, you can find the program at Start> All Programs> Accessories> System Tools> and Backup. This is a super simple way to backup your data from time to time. It’s also free. The problem is that I don’t think you can schedule backups. And, if you’re like most people, you will forget to do the backup after a while. It’s just human nature.
TwoBrightSparks offers free backup software. What’s great about this software is that you can schedule the backups. You just set it and forget about it. But this software goes a step further and allows ftp backups. This allows an easy way for you to backup your data over the internet. This is incredibly important if your home is ever destroyed by a fire or a flood. If your backup is onsite – your data will be gone. This is the best backup you can do. But for the typical user it’s too hard because it requires setting up an ftp server.
External Hard Drive
This is by far the most popular type of backup. This is probably due to the fact that it’s super easy. You just plug in the hard drive to your USB or firewire port and you’re off. Most external hard drives now include some type of backup software. That is nice, but not totally needed. If it does include one, you want to make sure it includes scheduling in the software. Just remember that backing up this way is all on-site. This means that if a natural disaster hits your home, your data will be gone too.