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What Is A Backup?

Monday, January 12th, 2015 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms

Lamar from Los Angeles:

Whenever you offer advice which causes any alteration in a PC you religiously say to backup/save our work. But I don’t know exactly how to do this. How do I backup something? If I’m not in the midst of an operation what is there to back up? I’m kinda dense so please explain.

Hello Lamar,
Good question. We do suggest this often when we write our tips. But it’s not as complicated as you think.
Backing up just means saving a copy of everything that you have done on the computer up until this point. This means to save any files, folders, pictures, music, documents: anything that you created yourself and would hate to lose. In some cases, you also want to create a backup of your computer exactly the way it is before you make the changes, such as if you are making changes to the registry with a registry editor.
Backing up, then, simply means to save it to an external location or drive, such as a flash drive or external hard drive, or even to a separate partition of the drive in some cases. This last choice is not the best, because if something you change affects the entire hard drive, a partition may also be wiped out. But it is an option.
To do the backup, you can use Windows built-in backup/file history program, you can use many of the free backup software options out there or you can simply just copy your files directly to that drive. Just make sure you have a large enough drive or enough empty space to save all those files.
~ Audra

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5 Responses to “What Is A Backup?”

  1. subramanian says:

    clean.neat. simple, crisp reply and hw to do so.

  2. Jadesqr says:

    As someone who has personally lost many hours of input to computer programs through the years, I find it irresponsible you didn’t address the ‘SAVE’ portion of Lamar’s question. Note: to ‘save’ requires an input to a program usually found under ‘File’ at the head of a document. Some programs such as OpenOffice, save at regular intervals but not necessarily when you expect.
    An action is required to save, either press ‘Enter’ or ‘File’ to be sure. I hope Lamar catches this comment as I think he may still be in the ‘dark’ about what it means to ‘SAVE’.

  3. Hank says:

    I heard that keeping all your data on a separate partition was a good way to protect all from spam. True?

  4. Harry Walker says:

    Audra, I read your comments and I am still as confused as ever. Windows 10: where is the Windows backup/File History program. Does system restore points serve the same purpose? Your information is only the first part of a save solution, now the step by step please. thanks

    • cynthia says:

      System restore will reset your system to a previous point. Backing up makes copies of your files and stores them externally in case something happens to your PC. If you type back up into your search box in Windows 10 and click on the results you will get step-by-step guidelines for backing up your files. However, you’ll need somewhere to back them up, such as an external hard drive or perhaps a flash drive depending on the size of the files.

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