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Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Chapter 22. Backups & File History

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who have a regular backup system—and those who will.

You’ll get that grisly joke immediately if you’ve ever known the pain that comes with deleting the wrong folder by accident, or making changes that you regret, or worst of all, having your hard drive die. All those photos, all that music you’ve bought online, all your email—gone.

Yet the odds are overwhelming that at this moment, you do not have a complete, current, automated backup of your computer. Despite about a thousand warnings, articles, and cautionary tales a year, guess how many do? About four percent. Everybody else is flying without a net.

If you don’t have much to back up—you don’t have much in the way of photos, music, or movies—you can get by with burning copies of stuff onto blank CDs or DVDs or using a free online backup system like Dropbox or your OneDrive. But those methods leave most of your stuff unprotected: all your programs and settings.

What you really want, of course, is a backup that’s rock-solid, complete, and automatic. You don’t want to have to remember to do a backup, to insert a disc, and so on. You just want to know you’re safe.

If you use Windows in a corporation, you probably don’t even have to think about backing up your stuff. A network administrator generally does the backing up for you.

But if you use Windows at home, or in a smaller company that doesn’t have network nerds running around to ensure your files’ safety, ...

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