As that section suggests, you should make a list
of all the data the you personally need to back up.
there's more to backing up than just backing up your data: Here are two
other types of information you should also think about backing up:
(1) You should also think about whether you need to
back up the software programs on your computer.
you have a hard disk crash, the ability to restore your backed-up data
won't get you computer working again. You need to restore your Windows
operating system and any installed software such as Microsoft Office,
to do that.
Unfortunately making a backup of Windows
and your installed software is not easy. Most of the backup programs
we reviewed won't even do it. They are designed for backing up your
data not your software.
To back up Windows and other
programs you need a special kind of backup program called drive
Use of this kind of software is
really for experienced users so we haven't reviewed those products
here. However if you want to pursue this, I strongly recommend a
Acronis True Image *. It's the easiest to use of any
program in this class yet has enough features to satisfy even the most
advanced users. That's why I use it myself.
You can use
products like True Image to backup absolutely everything on your hard
disk. That's why they are called imaging programs - they take a
complete picture of your hard disk and store it in compressed form as an
If you use one of these programs, you may
not need a data backup program at all. But be aware that imaging
programs are more difficult to use, take large amounts of disk space
for the backup image, take a long time to backup and usually have to
to manually initiated rather than automatically scheduled.
Many people, myself included, use both drive imaging backup programs
and data backup programs. I create drive images weekly but I use a
data backup program (Genie actually) to automatically backup most of
my data files daily. Some of my critical and often changed data files,
are backed up hourly. By combining these products in this way, I get
the best of both worlds.
(2) You should also think
about saving some of your critical data that's used by Windows and your installed
This is a really important class of data
that a lot of people overlook. Some examples would include:
Most users have no idea where this information is stored
on their computer. For example, ask a user of Outlook Express where his
email files are located and you would normally get a blank look.
This point is critical because of you don't know where it's located
you can't tell a data backup program to back it up.
Luckily some data backup programs do the hard work for you. Instead of
requiring you tell them where this data is located they instead,
simply ask you whether you want this kind of data backed up. All you
have to do is tick a box.
If you don't know where this
data is located on your PC, I strongly recommend you chose a backup
product that offers this feature.