Losing data because of a computer problem or a hard disk crash is discouraging, to say the least. You might lose family photos, your music collection, or financial data. And, after you get the computer just the way that you want it, it can take a long time to reconfigure your personal settings on a new computer: desktop background, sounds, screensavers, and wireless network configurations to name just a few
However, a little prevention can go a long way to avoiding this ordeal. To help save you lots of time and aggravation, we recommend that you take the precaution of regularly backing up your data and settings.
This article describes how to manually back up your personal files and settings in Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. It also describes how to use the data tools in Windows to back up your files and settings.
The simplest method is to manually back up your files and settings to removable media or a network location. You can specify the files and settings that you want to back up and how often you want to perform a backup.
Note Examples of removable media include external hard disks, DVDs, CDs, and USB memory cards. You can back up files to a different computer or a network device if your computer is connected to a network such as a wireless network.
To manually copy your files to a network location or to removable media on a computer that is running Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003, follow these steps: Click here to show/hide solution
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, click Computer and then double-click the drive where you currently have Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003 installed.
Open the Users folder, and then open the user folder that contains the files that you want to back up.
Copy the necessary folders from the user folder to a network location or to removable media.
To back up data for all users, repeat steps 2–3.
To determine the size of all the files in the user folder, select all the folders, right-click those selected folders, and then click Properties.
The saved files can be copied to any computer. However, you must have corresponding applications installed on that computer to open those individual files.
Not all applications save their files to the user folder. You should make sure that you check other applications and the file system location where the applications save files by default, and then copy those files to the network location or to the removable media.
Method 2: Use the Easy Transfer feature to back up data to a different computer
The next easiest method is to use the Easy Transfer feature in Windows to transfer data to a different computer. This section discusses the following scenarios in which you can use the Easy Transfer feature to back up data to a different computer:
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Your computer OS
Target computer OS
Back up a Windows 7-based computer
Transfer files and settings to another Windows 7-based computer
The Windows Easy Transfer feature lets you to back up user account files and settings. Then you can restore those files and settings to a new computer. To start Windows Easy Transfer, follow these steps:
Click Start, type windows easy transfer in the Start Search box, and then click Windows Easy Transfer in the Programs list.
Follow the instructions to transfer your files and settings.
Transfer files and settings to a Windows Vista-based computer
The Windows Easy Transfer feature lets you to back up user account files and settings. Then you can restore those files and settings to the new computer. To start Windows Easy Transfer, follow these steps:
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Click Start, type transfer in the Start Search box, and then click Windows Easy Transfer in the Programs list.
Click Next. If you are prompted to close programs, make sure that you have saved any open documents, and then click Close all.