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Backing up files

I'm one of those people who has seen the 'backup' option a lot of times but never used it..
I never knew what it 'exactly' did.

I recently learned that this backup can be a great souce to restore functionality and remove bugs and viruses from the computer, even re-install the OS.
Is this true?
Can I make such a backup that can help in re-installing the OS and removing all the bugs that have evolved after backing up the files?

Do you actually use this method? It seems to be quite cumbersome.. to backup again and again. But of course it's better than reformatting, right?
...You seem to misunderstand what backup can do for you... It (in itself) does not help you fixing any problems, but helps you once you need to fix the problem (just like re-installing OS, formatting a drive or etc)

Backup means the process of keeping (copying) files / settings, backup the files that do not have problem and you need to keep. Once there is some actions the files are / will be affected, you will have the copy (the back-up files) to recover than your computer just return to the point you backup.

Say, there is a virus infecting Windows and / or some softwares and / or some of you documents and / or need to do format, you can backup the uninfected data and softwares, then re-install the infected one (if it is software) and restore the backup. Needless to say, it is useless if you backup the infected since it is still infected after restore, once you execute the infected files, it still infect other files (if it can).

You can backup the whole drive (e.g. Ghost) if the drive does not contain data files (OS + application only). Or mostly backup refers to backup user files and application settings so user reinstall Windows (+ softwares) and restore their files and settings after that, there is some softwares help you in that (I believe so, didn't used that, but Windows have one at least). You can do backup when you need just like what I mentioned before and latter, or schedule (whether automatic or manual) regular backup. I think most backup software have such automatic functionality. The backup data can be one archive, the latest backup for personal computer / backup when needed, for servers or important data at least 3 latest versions of archive is back-up (For the most unpredictable / catastrophic situations)

Just recently, my computer have some hardware driver issue and I decided to reformat the drive, as I said I don't use such software. What I do is

1.Creating a backup partition (Not that hard with EASEUS partition master, plus the free space as large as data to be backup)
2.Copy my documents and settings to that partition
--Simply "Documents and Settings" in C: root (Desktop files, "my documents", application data, favorites/bookmarks and cookies for both IE/Firefox (Don't know for others), some folders are not necessary (Default user, temporary files, caches) but doesn't matter (of course since I excluded them lol)
--Own files in C: (If you have habit of storing files in C: root, I don't have so skipped)
--Export registry file (In regedit.exe, registry stores settings for many softwares, but 1] It is quite messy usually, 2] I merely modify settings or I will do so once I need so I skipped also)
3.Prepare a list of softwares and driver to be installed (Just have a look at Program Files or Add / Remove Programs, for driver take a look at the motherboard and USB peripherals connecting). You can download the softwares after re-installation but for me, I downloaded all to the backup partition before performing re-format (to be exact I already have a partition for installers and I stored software installer at I first installation, when I have to re-install Windows, I simply clean up unused softwares and update some installers if necessary)

Then I easily formatted C: and installed XP, the bunch of softwares and drivers, finally copied the back-up files. Everything goes just fine and I think no headache at all.

What If I don't get a system OS CD/DVD ?
I'm not really talking about piracy... I recently bought a Sony Vaio with Vista Home premium, and we didn't get a OS CD, we asked the shop owner about it, and he said that if you ever crash your computer or something.. then he would reformat it himself..

So my question is, Can I make a copy of all the system files, which I can later use for returning my computer's functionality, in-case something goes wrong.

I did understand your point though,,, you're saying that I should format the HDD which supposedly has the virus or problem, and then install the OS again, and then later just use the backup files to install important data, and drivers and other important stuff, right?

but how am I supposed to install the OS without the CD!

Finally I would just ask one more time, Is it possible to make a backup of all the computer files and then later(in case of errors and bugs and stuff) simply goto the restore option(without giving the command to format anything, just by saying 'restore files') and live life bug free whenever I need to?

Another thing.. Can I make 2 backups, one of the whole system when it comes fresh(i'm buying a new pc) and then later a backup of only important stuff, and then afterwards restore one then restore the other?? I mean, instead of making one big backup of the whole system along with the important files, can I first make a backup of only the windows system files, and then a backup of my important files(say, 1 month later) and in-case of a problem, restore the both one by one..?

By the way, If you're good with computer knowledge, then please take a look at my other post
If you're really looking to backup important documents I really recommend Dropbox. It's main purpose is supposed to be used for cross-computer sharing but it works very well for keeping documents. I've had to format my computer a few times, and never worry about documents because everything is in Dropbox. I install, and it automatically downloads the files for me.

I also use an external drive, so mostly nothing important is on my main hard drive. I usually do monthly "images" of my hard drive, so if something goes wrong / hard drive dies I have a backup that is fairly recent. If you don't know what a image is, it basically is what it's called. It takes a computer "image" that gathers ALL information (games, programs, etc) and saves them to a file. All I have to do is restore the image if something goes wrong and it's basically like new again.
The way we backup files on our company is that we burn it on a cd-rw, we store it there for 6 months. so if anything goes wrong we can access the data from the cd-rw. but when the time expires. after 6months. we usually overwrite the older backup that and store the new one from there. well that's how we basically backup our files. just sharing thought.
A drive imaging program is a utility that creates a backup snapshot or image of your disk drives, most commonly your system drive.

Imaging programs differ from data backup programs in that they can backup the Windows Operating system itself.

You can use that backup image to recover from system failures, spyware infections, installations gone wrong or any of the dozens of other things that can seriously mess up your PC.

Imaging programs can be used to backup data as well as your operating system but are not ideal for that task. Recent versions of imaging programs have improved in this area but many folks, myself included, prefer to use imaging programs to back up Windows and data backup programs like Genie, to backup regularly changing data.

Every PC I own has a drive imaging utility installed and I use these regularly to make image backups of the C: drives. I simply can't tell you just how many times I've been able to use these backup images to restore a non-working PC to perfect health. Restoring from an image only takes me minutes while a full Windows re-install can take many hours or even days when you take into account re-installing application programs. That's why I recommend the system drive of every PC should be imaged regularly using a reliable imaging program.

Now let me tell you the harsh truth: when it comes to the best imaging program it's a two horse race between the commercial products Acronis True Image and Norton Ghost with the freeware contenders trailing by a couple of miles. Not that there aren't some usable freeware products; it's just they aren't in the same league when it comes to function, features and reliability.
mrcool: The way we backup files on our company is that we burn it on a cd-rw, we store it there for 6 months. so if anything goes wrong we can access the data from the cd-rw. but when the time expires. after 6months. we usually overwrite the older backup that and store the new one from there. well that's how we basically backup our files. just sharing thought.

Hi we have the same procedure on how to backup data files. We also burn it on a CD but in our end we only keep them for about 4-5months that's very nice to hear that not only us use this kind of precedures...
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