1.) On most OEM systems, including Dells, the backup utility is not preinstalled, but you do have it. For instructions on finding it on your Dell recovery CD and installing it, click here.
2.) You can "ghost/clone" your hard drive, which is where you may an exact replica of your hard drive on another drive or a set of CDs/DVDs. This backs up everything, including the operating system, in case of a crash. For this you'd want to look into a program such as Norton Ghost.
3.) One of the best backup programs is Acronis TrueImage ($50). It can run on a defined schedule and perform incremental backups (only what's changed) of specific folders/files and files types. It can also clone your hard drive, like Norton Ghost can. However, I prefer to simply backup the files myself...once a week I burn a set of DVDs with all of my important information. I like to be in charge of the process, not rely on a piece of software. (Call me old-fashioned.)
4.) DVD+R and DVD-R are competing DVD formats. DVD-R is more common for burning your own video DVDs, while DVD+R is more common for data backups. (Some may argue DVD+R is superior, but the differences are negligible.) Which one you use is up to you, provided your computer's DVD burner can handle both. (Most newer ones can, but just be sure.)
5.) Make sure you have more than one backup. Any form of media can go bad, so you don't want to have your hard drive fail just to find our your backup is no good anymore. Also, after burning the backup make sure you check the DVD to be sure the files were burned properly...again, you don't want a corrupt backup.
Hope this helps,
I have Dell 2400, xp sp2 Pentium 4 desktop. I just bought a DVD-RW burner and do not have a Microsoft backup utility.
I now need advice on backup programs. Something good, reasonable in price, and easy for a newbie to use.
I also would like to know why there are differences in DVD-R and DVD+R disks. Which one is preferable for backing up the files on my computer. Everybody recomends to backup the hard drive in the event of a crash(I don't have videos or music or photos).
Thanks for any help. Tom.