Before performing the backup, a decision needs to be made on the type of backup you wish to perform. Do you back up everything? Selected files? System files? Depending on the type of backup you choose, you will need media that can appropriately handle it. If all you've got are small documents, then a Zip drive might be OK, but if you've got larger files then a Jaz drive might be better. Either way, you should have your media ready before attempting the backup.
In this exercise we will be backing up selected files only.
From the "What to Back Up" screen select the second option and move on. The next screen allows you to navigate your hard drives and place a check mark next to the files you wish to back up. The "My Documents" folder is the one I will be backing up, as this is where I house my important data files. I check it and progress to the next screen, which asks where I want to store and what I want to name the backup. Once this information is entered, the next screen gives a run-down of the settings that have been specified so far.
Click on the "Advanced" tab to get more control over the type of backup you want to perform. Incremental and differential backups are offered, but for simplicity we will be running a normal backup operation. A normal backup may not be the best choice for you, though, so make sure you examine all the possible options and what they can do, as restore operations will also vary. For example, if your data changes regularly, an intermediate backup performed daily might be more beneficial to you. From the "Type of Backup" screen, select the "normal" option and on the next screen check the verification box, which confirms data integrity. After choosing your backup location (I backed mine up to a Zip disk), the next screen - "Backup label" - may not seem important, but it is. Giving your backup as descriptive a name as possible allows you to identify quickly the data you need to restore if your system ever goes down.
The last screen of the wizard allows you to run the backup either now or at a later date. Selecting "Now" will immediately back up your files and provide you with a report, while "Later" will allow you to set it up for another time. When you select "Later", you will need to enter your network password. Click on the "Set Schedule" button, and from the ensuing screen you will be able to set the date and frequency of the backup operations. If you want to run the backup once a week, simply select "Weekly" from the "Schedule Task" drop-down list and select your preferred day and time. You can also choose to space backups over a few weeks instead of every week. By clicking on the "Advanced" button you can also set specific dates.
Now that you are familiar with how to back up your data, don't think you're home and hosed just yet - if your system ever encounters a problem and you happen to lose data, you will need to know how to put your data back together again, like Humpty Dumpty. Stay tuned to this column next month as we go through the process of restoring data after a system crash using Backup's Restore feature.
Just as important as backing up your files is creating an Emergency Repair Disk. To create a Repair Disk you will need to go into Microsoft Backup and select "Emergency Repair Disk" from the first screen of the wizard or, alternatively, from the view menu. From the resultant dialogue box you have the option of also backing up the Registry - highly recommended, as it will hold you in good stead should your system ever decide it doesn't want to boot or gets damaged. You will need to insert one formatted floppy disk into the drive and click OK. Be warned, though, this is not a boot disk! It is to be used in conjunction with the Windows 2000 Recovery Console, which can be run from the Windows 2000 setup program.