Information on a computer can be in many forms, including:
Because all this information is important to you, it is essential that you take appropriate measures to protect it against various disasters that may cause your computer to fail and make you lose your data. Some of the common disasters that may cause data loss are:
The only and the best way to prevent these disasters from making you lose your data is to back it up. Depending on the criticality of your data, you may use various backup procedures to store your data.
To simplify the backup tasks for you, your Windows Vista operating system already ships with various utilities that you can use for the purpose. Each utility performs a different type of backup.
The System Restore Vista utility monitors your system configuration and applications for changes and creates restore points. These restore points include registry backup, system files and any changes made to system configuration. System Restore utility is usually enabled by default and makes automatic restore points, you can also use the utility to make manual restore points. If an irrecoverable error occurs on the system, you can use System Restore to revert your system configuration to a restore point that was taken before the error started occurring. Although useful for day-to-day troubleshooting, one of the main disadvantages of this utility is that the restore points are all stored on the hard disk and you can not use them in case of a hard disk failure.
Almost all Windows Vista editions comprise the Automatic PC Backup feature. This feature helps you easily backup your user files, emails, and other data on a regular basis. Using this feature, you can also schedule periodic data backups. You may choose to backup data on different types of storage medium including writable CDs or DVDs, external hard drives, USB drives, or on a network location.
Windows Vista Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions also comprise the Complete PC Backup feature. This is an image-based backup feature. In addition to your user data, this backup option helps you backup everything else that is there on your hard disk, including your operating system, system configuration, applications, and user preferences. This feature is useful for computers that cannot afford to have large periods of downtime. With entire system configuration information backed up, if your PC malfunctions you just need to restore the entire PC from the last working backup to have it up in no time.
If your data is critical, then, you may opt to use third-party online backup services. There are several such services available that make it really simple and economical to back up your PC information. The best thing about online backups is that your data is stored at an offsite location. Thus, if some irrecoverable damage occurs onsite, you can easily have your systems up quickly by restoring them from the offsite online backups.