keep your data safe
Windows Backup Guide
What is it all about?
This article explains some of the best practices to protect and back up data on your computer. It gives you in-depth information on what exactly you need to back up on your computer and how would you locate the most critical and important data that needs regular and reliable backup. The following topics are covered: Outlook data backup, registry backup, e-mail (Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail) backup, messenger data (MSN, ICQ, AIM, and Yahoo!) backup, system, shell and desktop settings backup. Additionally, a few general tips are provided to help you back up your documents and folders under Microsoft Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP, and Server, safely and reliably. Although information presented here is free to study and explore, any kind of reprint, reproduction, or redistribution are strictly prohibited.
Why to back up?
The importance of backing up
The first thing a new or experienced computer user should learn is the importance of backing up. Are you still not backing up your data? You should know this by now: computers can and do fail. The problem is that you usually get no warning before it's too late. This has happened to many people. In extreme cases, it has put companies out of business. Computers are becoming more and more reliable. This creates a false sense of security - we begin to think all our data are safe and secure and will never go away. It's not true - and never will be. If you don't back up your computer system regularly, you are playing Russian roulette with your data. Backups are really a necessity, and you are responsible for making backups of your files.
What to back up?
Each of the above backup topics shares the same common format:
The backup locations mentioned there may vary from system to system, from installation to installation. The examples of the paths provided are generally valid for a typical Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7 installation. However they may, and will, differ on other systems. The only way to correctly identify the required path location, especially when running international Windows, is to make a call to a special Windows system API function SHGetSpecialFolderLocation and supply it with one of the available CSIDL values. These are the programming terms and, moreover, this can be done only programmatically, so don't try to fully understand the above clause. However, if you're a computer literate, you may guess the correct locations browsing through the folders with the Explorer. For example, the Windows profile directory, the most important directory which holds all of the local user profiles, is usually located at:
If you're unable to determine any of the required locations, you can still try finding the required data by searching your disk drives for files of the specified types - the typical file extensions are provided with each topic. If you don't want to do this work manually, or if you're not sure whether you've found the correct paths or not, there is an automatic, reliable backup solution available.
A special backup program, Argentum™ Backup , automatically detects and locates the proper paths, folders and files under any Microsoft Windows (95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, and 7) platform. Argentum Backup does it for sure, without any mistake or occasion. The developers put a lot of work into the product, tuning and refining the built-in, patented backup engine code-named AutoAnalyze™. Other than that, Argentum Backup is an easy backup software to back up your documents and folders, easily and reliably. Backups are stored in compressed Zip files and can be created both manually and automatically. Argentum Backup is designed to be suitable for both beginners and advanced users.
How to back up?
Windows backup software
Of course you can make an attempt and try backing up some or all of the above data manually, by hand. That would require locating the proper paths, searching through the registry, putting up a list of items to back up, and then copying or archiving multiple files and folders. That would be a bold attempt! First, you can make a mistake and miss something very important. Second, it may take quite a while, especially if you're short of time and have better things to do other than sitting behind the computer desktop and playing with the files. Third, after all, it's not that easy! Fortunately, there is a better solution available! Back up all of the above items fully automatically. In a snap. In a single click! A special backup program, Argentum™ Backup, will automatically locate for you all of the important data on your computer and will create a simple list of tasks to back up, quickly and safely. All you have to do afterwards is to click a "Backup Now!" button. It's that easy.
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