Windows XP Professional comes equipped with its own backup tool. While there are many 3rd party software that will perform this operation too, Windows XP's is just fine. If you are a Windows XP Home user, follow the steps outlined below.
>>Installing Windows Backup Utility in Windows XP Home Edition:
1. Insert the Windows XP Installation CD in to your CD drive.
2. Select "Perform Additional Tasks" from the XP Welcome screen.
3. Select, "Browse this CD".
4. You will now be taken in to Windows Explorer. From here, you will need to double click on the following folders: ValueAdd>> Msft>> Ntbackup.
5. With the Ntbackup folder open, double click the file titled: Ntbackup.msi
The Windows XP Backup Utility will now be installed on to your Windows Application.
>>Using Windows XP Backup Utility:
To access the Windows XP Backup Utility, go to Start>> All Programs>> Accessories>> System Tools>> Backup.
Or- you can simply go to Start>> Run. Type in: ntback [Enter] or click OK.
Once you've started the Backup Wizard you will be taken to an opening page. Just select Next here and then select "Backup Files and Settings" from the following page and then click Next again. You should now be at the "Backup or Restore Wizard. Here, you are faced with a few choices of what you would like to backup. the choices are:
* My documents and settings:
This is a good choice for a single user. This will backup your email messages to include your address book, personal Windows registry settings and all data files.
* Everyone's documents and settings:
If you share your computer with a few other people that have their own personalized settings, this would be a good backup choice.
* All information on this computer:
In making this selection, you will be backing up every stitch of information that resides on your Windows XP application. Depending on the amount of software you have installed, this backup could encompass many gigabytes of information. This is not a good backup choice as it is pretty much a waste of time and space.
* Let me choose what to backup:
This is a good selection for people that have a good backup strategy in mind. Once you've selected this option, you will be taken to an "Items to backup" page that lists all of the available backup options for your Windows Application. It really is a very simple task in selecting, because all you have to do is place a checkmark adjacent to the item you wish to backup. So, if you have a backup strategy, this would be the preferred option.
Once you've made your selection of which backup procedure to use, click Next.
>>Deciding where to backup your files:
Windows XP will save all of your backup information to single file and by default, it will attempt to save it to your floppy drive. Obviously, this isn't going to be a location that any of you will be interested in, so you will need to select the "Browse" option to browse for your destination of choice. My backup destination of choice is to a USB thumb drive. It is always best to place your backup in a removable media of some sort.
After the backup destination has been selected, enter a name for the backup file and then click Next.
You should now be at the final page of the Backup Wizard. From here, you can perform these backups automatically in different intervals. To set this up, click the "Advanced" button. If you are not interested in scheduling your backups, just click "Finish" and your selected backup will begin.
Good job! You now a have a good working copy of the selected files in case something goes wrong with your Windows XP installation.