Creating Backups and Preparing for Problems
3. If automated backups are off and you want to turn them on, click the “Turn on”
button. The settings you configured previously are used for automated backups.
When you are using automated backups, you can view the status of the last backup
in the Backup Status and Configuration dialog box. If an error occurs, such as the
one shown in Figure 21-9, click the Details link to view detailed information about
the error. One of the most common errors you’ll see pertains to insufficient storage
space. You’ll see this error if the backup device you’ve selected doesn’t have enough
free space to either start or complete the backup. For example, while the backup pro-
gram will let you use a device with removable storage as a backup location, the
device might not have enough free space to start or complete the backup.
Performing Complete Computer Backups
Complete PC Backup creates a backup image of the entire computer and everything
needed to restore it completely. If you haven’t previously used image-based back-
ups, you’ll find that you can create and restore image-based backups much faster
than you can file-based backups. Unlike file-based backups, you can’t choose indi-
vidual files to restore with image-based backups. With image-based backups, you
Figure 21-9. Reviewing the backup status and checking for errors
Chapter 21: Getting Help and Handling Advanced Support Issues
must restore your entire computer, and all the associated programs, system settings,
and files. Additionally, when you are using the Complete PC Backup feature, you
need to keep the following in mind:
• Backups can only be made to internal or external hard disks, CDs, or DVDs.
• Disks must be formatted with NTFS and cannot be compressed.
• While you can back up dynamic disks, you cannot create a backup on a dynamic
When you create a Complete PC Backup, you should back up all disks that contain
Windows files, programs, and your personal data. If you choose to back up to a hard
disk, you cannot include that disk in the backup. In addition, when you are backing
up dynamic disks, you should back up all dynamic disks together.
Because compression is not used with Complete PC Backup, the backup image will
be the same approximate size as the size of the data you are backing up. For fast
backups on a medium that is portable, I recommend using an external disk drive.
With my external disk drive, I can create a complete backup image at a rate of about
20 GB every 10 minutes. In contrast, using a 16 × DVD-R drive requires three to four
DVDs and 30 to 45 minutes to back up 20 GB.
Because backup images create an actual duplicate of a disk, you
should check for and fix disk errors prior to running Complete PC
Backup. You should also defragment the disks prior to the complete
backup. Performing both of these maintenance tasks will help ensure
that disk recovery works smoothly and that your computer operates
smoothly after disk recovery. If a disk that you want to back up has
been flagged as having errors or has a pending check disk, Complete
PC Backup will not continue until you’ve checked for and fixed disk
You can start a Complete PC Backup by following these steps:
1. Open the Backup and Recovery Center. Click Start, click Control Panel, and
then click the “Back up your computer” link under the System and Maintenance
2. In the Backup and Recovery Center, click “Back up computer.” Windows Com-
plete PC Backup will then examine your computer’s disks and attached devices,
looking for compatible backup devices.
3. On the “Where do you want to save the backup?” page, shown in Figure 21-10,
use the options provided to specify a backup location, preferably on removable
media, and then click Next.