Backing up your files from time to time is a good idea. One thing that should be mentioned is that a backup means you have an original someplace. If you are just want to move your files off your computer to clear up some space, that isn’t really backing up the files, but transferring them to another location. Either way, this guide will show you how.
1. Get external storage.(External Harddrive, DVDs,CDs,Online storage)
If you get an external hard drive, try to get one that’s large enough so you don’t have to buy another one right away and transfer data again. Transferring data is slow. I’m not much of a disc fan/user so there are other places you can look if you need help with this. ImgBurn is free software that lets you burn to discs. It works very nicely. As for online storage there are a few options, some free and some pay. If you happen to have a Live.com account you can use their sky drive. This has 25GB of storage for free. Uploads are slow. Compared to the other options this would be the slowest. There is a program called Sky Drive Explorer, this allows you to use the sky drive like a networked hard drive on your computer. Once you decide what you want to use to store your files, the next step is copying the files.
2. Copy everything you want to keep onto said storage.
First, you need to decide what you want. If you have pictures, or music, just copy the folders over. If you are running windows, the default copy program might not do the best job. If there is a problem with a file, the entire copy job list will stop, and you’ll have to tell it to copy starting from where it left off. There are a couple programs out there to solve this problem. TeraCopy, and Ycopy (Ycopy’s site is down at the time of this writing, but there are plenty of download mirrors out there if you search). Both of these programs will copy the entire batch except for the with the error, without dying.
If you are copying programs, things get a little trickier, because not all the parts of the program are located in the same location. Places to check:
- Install Directory. – If you go with the defaults this is most likely “C:\Program Files\*Name of the program*”
2.Application Data. – some programs store stuff here, and you’ll need to copy this if you want it to work. On xp this is located: “C:\Documents and Settings\*user*\Application Data\*name of the program*” on vista and windows7 it is: “C:\Users\*User*\AppData\Roaming\*Name Of Program*\”
3. Registry. Go to start->run, type: “regedit” and hit enter. Finding all the registry keys related to the program could be a little harder it should be in: “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\*Name of program*”. Once you find the keys highlight them, then click File->Export… then choose where you want to save the file. (probably in the same place where you copied the other parts of the program.)
3. Verify that the data was actually copied before you remove the original.
Whether you are just backing files up, or if you are transferring these files to clean up space by removing the originals, it isn’t a bad idea to make sure everything copied correctly. If you are using a hard drive, remove the drive (safely remove), then plug it back in and see if the files are there. If you used a DVD, or CD, eject the disc, and insert it again, and check to see if the files are there. If you used an online storage method, disconnect from the service, then reconnect and check to see if your files are there.
If you have any questions just post them in the comments and I’ll get back to you.