1. Buy an external hard disk.
2. Make it ready for use (initialzing, format as NTFS) - just one time. Not too difficult.
3. Drag and drop your My Documents to it (and other folders you've got data in, like special fonts in your fonts folder, setups of programs you downloaded from Internet and so on - everything you don't want to lose).
4. Be sure to use the 'Safely remove hardware' feature of Windows XP or shut down before removing it.
5. Safely store the disconnected hard disk. If you want to protect yourself against floods and fire also, store it at work.
6. Repeat 3, 4 and 5 as often as you need.
The downside: most of what you copy in step 5 already is copied, and there's no need to do it again. That's where you need some software solution , and that must be setup. Not really difficult. Two possibilities:
- Free SYNCTOY (download from Microsoft) does the job of synchronizing. Nice program.
- A simple batchfile based on xcopy /s /m (only copies changed files, including subfolders). That's what I use myself.
Only copying changed data is called 'incremental backup'.
The only possible advice on backup: start doing it and keep doing it regularly. An incremental backup once a week takes only a few minutes. And I suppose your documents warrant a few minutes of attention.
So I'd start with #1 right today. Usual disks are 250, 320 or 500 Gb. Price is somewhere between $120 and $160. Again the question: is saving your important stuff worth $160? Only you can tell.
Hope this helps. Don't hesitate for more help if necessary.
I've been experiencing a lot of slow-down, restricted access problems just lately with my HP computer that the warranty has just expired on. (Coincidence?)
I've been extremely lazy, or more to the point 'ignorant' with regard to backing up my system. I've often looked into 'backing-up' but have found the directions go way over my head.
Is there someone here who could explain in 'Idiots guide' fashion to a techno-phobe how to do it in the simplest and easiest way possible?
Your help would be very much appreciated as I have three years worth of (To me important) stuff I'd hate to lose if my computer gives up.