Chapter 26. The Benefits of Backup

I've been writing about backup longer than any other computer topic. Backup is an ancient, tried, and worthy technology — simple, really — and it can save your butt better than just about any other digital butt-saving trick. Nothing beats backup as far as reliability is concerned. In fact, backup's number-one enemy is you. Writing about backup is easy. Getting people to actually back up their computers is a task from which even Hercules would flee.

Are you one of the few who backs up computer data? Probably not. Keep reading anyway. Thanks to advancing technology, and cheap external hard drives, backing up today is simple and effortless. Despite that simplicity and all the benefits of backing up, I still consider it a vain task to write another chapter on backing up your computer. If you're still reading, count yourself among the few and blessed.

  • This chapter covers backing up using the Windows Vista Backup and Restore Center, though the general philosophy applies to any PC backup program.

  • This chapter does not cover using Backup's productive half, Restore. Refer to Chapter 4 for information on Restore.

The Backup Philosophy

As far as software goes, the basic backup program is pretty simple. It's merely a file copying program. The reason for making copies is safety: After backing up, you have two copies of all your stuff — one for using and one "just in case." Imagine how backing up stuff in your personal life would come in handy if you were able to ...

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