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Article ID: 971759 - Last Review: July 12, 2013 - Revision: 6.1

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INTRODUCTION

Losing data because of a computer problem or a hard disk crash is discouraging, to say the least. You might lose family photos, your music collection, or financial data. And, after you get the computer just the way that you want it, it can take a long time to reconfigure your personal settings on a new computer: desktop background, sounds, screensavers, and wireless network configurations to name just a few 

However, a little prevention can go a long way to avoiding this ordeal. To help save you lots of time and aggravation, we recommend that you take the precaution of regularly backing up your data and settings.

This article describes how to manually back up your personal files and settings in Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. It also describes how to use the data tools in Windows to back up your files and settings.

More information

Method 1: Manually back up your files and settings to removable media or to a network location

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Method 2: Use the Easy Transfer feature to back up data to a different computer

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Method 3: Use the Backup and Restore Center

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Method 4: Transfer files from a Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003-based computer

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Additional resources

We recommend the following when you back up data:
  • Don’t back up your files to a recovery partition or to the same hard disk on which Windows is installed.

    Note Manufacturers frequently configure a recovery partition on a computer. Typically, a recovery partition is displayed as a hard disk drive.
  • Always store the media that you use for backups in a secure location to prevent unauthorized access to your files.
  • Try to use a fireproof location that's separate from your computer's location. Also, consider encrypting the backup data.

Applies to
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Starter
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition for Itanium-Based Systems
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
Keywords: 
kbexpertisebeginner kbsurveynew kbhowto KB971759
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