Microsoft Backup, Backing Up Windows 98 Step By Step

Backing Up Windows 98

Step By Step

Getting acquainted with Microsoft Backup [Top]

Windows 98 includes a fully featured backup utility licensed from Seagate Software at no extra cost. If you have been using a computer for any length of time, you are already aware of how devastating a system crash can be, especially if it resulted from a failed hard drive. Regardless of whether you use your computer for merely sending email and typing letters to family members, or you use it for business purposes, regular system backups can save you hours of work. It is tedious work having to recreate files, not withstanding the frustration of losing work that you have already done that you cannot rescue. If you follow a specific schedule for doing regular backups, in most cases you will even be able to recover from inadvertent corruption of the Windows Registry.

Both Windows 95 and Windows 98 included a backup utility as an optionally installed component that is available during the Windows setup process. It is not installed by default, but can be easily added through Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs and then clicking on the Windows Setup Tab. The Windows 98 version of the Microsoft Backup utility includes some major improvements over earlier versions:

  • Inclusion of Microsoft’s wizard technology, making it easier to perform backup tasks.
  • It includes the capability to back up and restore the Windows 98 Registry.
  • It can be easily merged with the Windows 98 Task Scheduler to remind you to perform your system or file backup.
  • The Windows 98 version, while substantially improved, includes familiar interface elements from the previous version included with Windows 95 to maintain familiarity and ease of transition.
  • The new version:
    • Retains the familiar graphical user interface, enabling you to easily choose your backup selections.
    • Retains support for many types of tape drives and fixed media devices.
    • Retains the capability to create backup jobs that target different files, allowing you to create a variety of backup strategies.
    • Retains the ability to verify the integrity of the backed up files.
    • Retains password protection of backups for extra security.
    • Has added the capability to create recovery disks that you can use revive your computer after a major system crash and loss of system data.

Once Microsoft Backup is installed, its integration with the familiar Windows Desktop is virtually seamless and easy to use. To open Microsoft Backup and access the built-in wizard, follow these steps:

  • Click Start 
  • Click Programs 
  • Click Accessories 
  • Click System Tools 
  • Then click Backup 

When you click Backup you will see a message that Microsoft Backup has started.

And shortly thereafter you will see two windows come up. One will be a selection window that will ask you whether you want to “Create a new backup job”, “Open an existing backup job” (a backup job that you may have created previously), or whether you want to “Restore backed up files”.

If you select Create a new backup job, the next window will ask you what file types you would like to back up.

If you select Open an existing backup job, you will see a window that will show you all of the previous backup jobs that you have saved from which you can make a choice.

If you select Restore backed up files, you will see a window that will ask you for the location of the previously backed up files you wish to restore to your computer.

Once you have made your selections, you will see the actual Backup Wizard page from which you can modify any of your choices as necessary. The Wizard function actually starts as soon as you click Backup. The Backup interface uses different colored graphical “check marks” to help you select either a single file or an entire folder. You select the files you want to back up by clicking entire folders or just specific files. If you select an entire folder, Microsoft Backup will back up the entire contents of that folder.

If you would like to see an example of the Wizard, click: Show Me

Microsoft Backup allows you to select entire folders or specific files to back up. After you make your selections, you can save them for future use by creating a backup job. A backup job is a collection of files that you select within the backup utility that is saved with a particular filename. Once you create a backup job, you can quickly back up that range of files again by simply running the saved backup job. This allows you to quickly back up or restore files without having to repeatedly select the same files to be backed up each time.

 When you save a backup job you are also saving any settings that are selected when the job is created.

As you begin selecting various folders and/or files to be backed up, you will note the different colors of the selection check marks. A bright blue check mark signifies that a file or entire folder has been selected (see the “My Pictures” folder, which is in the “My Documents” folder in the “Show Me” example below). Take note that higher level folders, such as My Documents, have a gray selection check mark. The gray mark indicates to you that only a portion of the directory’s contents have been selected to be a part of your backup job.

Click Show Me to see an example!

One important feature of the Microsoft Backup utility is the capability to verify the integrity of your files as you back them up. You should always make sure to verify the integrity of the backed up files afterwards to insure that they are not corrupted for any reason. One of the worst frustrations you can have is to experience a severe system crash only to learn that the backup medium, such as a tape, has failed or that the data on the drive is corrupted. To verify file integrity, all you need to do is select the check box at the top of the Backup Job Options dialog box. See the example below. The verification process compares the original files with the backed up files saved to your backup media. While this does add to the time it takes to run your backup job, it provides an immense peace of mind and is well worth the extra time.

Click  Show Me to see an example!

 If the verification process indicates that there is a problem, examine the medium that you are backing up to, as it might be time to replace it or clean your backup device.

We cannot over stress the need to safeguard your data! If at all possible, you should store your backup media in a safe place, and preferably in another location other than were the original data is. As an example, if you backup your data on your home computer, take a copy to work, put it in a safe deposit box or in a briefcase in your car. If you’re backing up your office computer and the data needs to be secure, one option to hire a data archival service. For a monthly fee, these companies will maintain your backup media in an environmentally controlled area, and some will even pick up and deliver your backups at your location.

When deciding where to store backups, consider these potential dangers:

  • Electrical interference
  • Temperature variations
  • Fire
  • Theft

Balance these factors with convenience. Also, make a schedule for rotating your tapes between your computer and your storage area and follow it. The point of having backups is so that you can use them to restore files to your system if necessary.

Next, let’s work on Developing Your Backup Strategy.

This page updated: 8/15/2000

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