Consider this: The proximity of your drive’s spinning platters to the head that reads them is roughly the same proportion as the wheels of an airliner flying at 500 miles per hour, twelve inches off the ground. It’s amazing that hard drives work as well, and as long, as they do.
Still, because a hard drive is nothing more than a mass of moving parts in delicate alignment, every now and then disaster strikes. That’s why backing up your data (making a safety copy) on a regular basis is an essential part of using a PC. Even if computers aren’t your career, there’s probably a lot of valuable stuff on your hard drive: all of your digital photos, the addresses and phone numbers you’ve spent hours typing into your Contacts list, a lifetime’s worth of email, the Web sites in your Favorites folder, and so on.
Now, if you use XP Pro in a corporation—a distinct possibility, considering its target audience—you probably don’t even have to think about backing up your stuff. A network administrator generally does the backing up for you and your co-workers. (You’re probably instructed to save your files on a network server PC instead of your own, so that the administrator can back up all of the employees’ files in one swift move.) In that case, you can flip ahead to more interesting sections of this chapter.
If you use Windows XP at home, or in a smaller company that doesn’t have network nerds running around to ensure your files’ safety, you might be grateful for Microsoft Backup, ...