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Old 05-01-2009
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 3,260
Vista Backup and Restore and System Restore points

Vista Backup and Restore functions

Setting up a regular backup schedule for your home computer is always a good idea, and a primary use for external drives. While you can use writable CD?s and DVDs to hold your backup files, I don?t recommend doing so if at all possible. External drives are much better for this function.

Too many things can happen during a CD or DVD write operation which will make your backups useless for restoring. External drives are:

* inexpensive these days
* hold a great deal of data
* are much more stable during the writing process

Your backups have a much better chance of being useful for restoring them later. Also, an external drive can remain plugged in so that the backup doesn?t fail trying to use a CD that is full or no longer writable.

The Backup Configuration Utility is located at :

Start->Programs->Accessories->System Tools->Backup Status and Configuration.

Once open the Utility is fairly easy to setup, with very few options. If you have a large external drive, it is best to back up as much as possible; no telling what file may become ?important?.

A backup utility normally backs up ?all the files? the first time you make a backup, and then it keeps track of files that have been changed or altered since the last backup, so the next time the utility runs, it only copies the files which appear to have been changed. This saves a great deal of space in our storage area, and allows for a saved history over longer periods of time.

The second advantage is that backup utilities generally run automatically, so we don?t have to remember to run them once a day. For some people, always remembering to run the backup is easy, for the rest of us, well, life tends to be busy, and one less thing to remember means, one less thing to forget.

with the Windows Backup utility

Basically just your personal files and data. The backup doesn?t make copies of your program files, nor any copies of your system files. This is because it is running under the belief that a backup should only pay attention to ?data? and not programs. The logic goes something like:

If there is a catastrophic problem with the system and it crashes, then:
  • The hard drive should be formated
  • The system should be restored with a clean install
  • Programs should be installed cleanly (off the original disks or from the Internet)
  • After the system is stable, data should be restored from the backups

First Run though of the Backup Configuration

We started up the Backup Utility. We want to setup the backup and the schedule, so we click on Change backup settings, near the bottom of the dialog box.

The first requested information is; where to save our backup files. Here we can choose the CD, DVD or external drive (Vista will default to an external drive if it is present). We can also choose a network drive.

There are some really nice external network drives these days for home use. choose the best option you currently have available. The suggested order would be External Drive (connected by USB), Network Drive, DVD, CD.

After we choose storage area, we are then asked what type of files to backup. ?Select them all? option here or you choose files to backed up.

Our final setup dialog asks us how often and when to run the back up program. Remember that the computer needs to be on, in order to backup

Remember that the backup will not be copying files over which have not been changed or updated. So, if you do very few changes , set it for once a week, and it will be a very fast backup.

There is a check-box at the bottom of this last dialog, which asks if we wish to make a ?full backup in addition to saving our settings?, which has confused several people. What this is asking is ?Do you wish to run this backup now, or wait until your scheduled time??

expensive versions (not the home basic or home professional version) which makes a complete copy of your hard drive; a Snapshot of your system. This ?full backup? is not what we are talking about here.

Also, for the schedule, if you have the Windows Vista Home Basic version, you will not be able to setup the Automatic backup? though Windows will remind you to backup your files, which means you open up this utility and click on the Back up now button.

Checking this ?run now? box to do a back up at this point. You can work on your computer while the backup is running. The backup process will run in the background, and it is slow down your computer

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Old 05-01-2009
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 3,260
Re: Vista Backup and Restore and System Restore points

Vista System Restore points

System Restore is for the System, this is important to keep in mind. The utility does not back up personal files or settings. It only backs up System settings, such as drivers, the registry, the menu, the desktop settings, and other System settings which are set at the time the Restore Point is created. So if you are installing a new sound driver, or changing some other driver software on your computer, you might want to set a Restore point before beginning the change or installation. So, System Restore Points protect our Drivers and system files from corruption due to updates and changes.

The System Restore Point is a picture or snapshot of your system; not your personal files and data. Favorites and Bookmarks, and notes, and MP3s are not system settings (though for many of use they are far more important). So for these objects and files it is better to have a File Backup of your important information files to an external drive.

How to Make a System Restore Point

After this long lead in, Making and Using a System Restore Point is really easy.

To create a system point manually, we can restore to later:

Right Click on the My Computer Icon or go to

Start-> Right Click on My Computer

Click on the System Protection Tab

Choose the Drive you want to make a restore point for… On just about ever computer in the world, this is going to be the main C:\ Drive.

Click on the Create button.

Give your Restore Point a name; make it a good name, something you will recognize . Updates and driver installations may not show problems or make your computer unstable right away. Also, you will be able to tell the difference between unimportant automatically created restore points and restore points you made at critical times.

How to Restore the System to an Earlier Point
Ok, the update made the system unstable, or the program made all kinds of crazy stuff happen and you want to restore the system to its former, happy self.

Start->All Programs->Accessories->System Tools->System Restore

On this dialog you can find a quick link to the System Properties dialog as well for creating Restore Points. Since we are Restoring right now, we just click the Next button.

list of Restore Points indicated by date. Choose the Restore Point you wish to set the system back to, and Click the Next button.

A confirmation message will appear (when does a confirmation message not appear on Vista?), and we click Yes.
The computer will shut down and then turn back on automatically, allow this to happen and do not interrupt the process once a restore cycle has been started. Interrupting the process could damage the restore point storage, forcing you to choose an even earlier restore point, or having to re-install
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