It is important to establish a backup strategy that includes data recovery of personal files. You can use the Microsoft Backup Utility, shown in the figure, to perform backups as required. How the computer system is used, as well as organizational requirements, determines how often the data must be backed up and the type of backup to perform.
You can choose from several different types of backups depending on your requirements.
A normal backup is also called a full backup. During a normal backup, all selected files on the disk are archived to the backup medium. These files are marked as having been archived by clearing the archive bit.
A copy backup copies all selected files. It does not mark the files as archived.
An incremental backup backs up all the files and folders that have been created or modified since either the last normal or incremental backup. It marks the files as archived by clearing the archive bit. This has the effect of advancing the starting point of differential backups without having to re-archive the entire contents of the drive. To recover an incremental backup, the last full backup must be recovered, followed by all incremental backups in order.
A differential backup backs up all the files and folders that have been created or modified since either the last normal backup or the last incremental backup. A differential backup does not mark the files as archived. Copies are made from the same starting point until the next incremental or full backup is performed. Making differential backups is important because only the last full and differential backups are needed to restore all the data.
Daily backups only back up the files that are modified on the day of the backup. Daily backups do not modify the archive bit.
It can take a long time to run a backup. If the backup strategy is followed carefully, it is not necessary to back up all files every time. Instead, only the files that have changed since the last backup need to be backed up.
To access the backup utility in Windows 7, use the following path:
Start > Control Panel > Backup and Restore
To access the backup utility in Windows Vista, use the following path:
Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Backup Status and Configuration
To access the backup utility in Windows XP Professional, use the following path:
Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Backup