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From the author of Configuring and Running Windows 7 Backup

Configuring and Running Windows 7 Backup

Before you can perform a backup with Windows 7, you must configure the backup program:

  1. Click Set Up Backup to configure your backup.
  2. Figure 2 Starting the Windows 7 backup configuration process.

  3. In the "Select Where You Want to Save Your Backup dialog, select a location. Note that you can save your backup to a recordable or rewritable DVD drive, an internal hard disk, or an external hard disk. Windows 7 recommends an NTFS-formatted external hard disk with at least enough space for the current system image.
  4. After selecting a drive, click Next to continue (see Figure 3).
  5. Figure 3 Selecting a drive for storing the backup.

  6. On the What Do You Want to Back Up? dialog (see Figure 4), use the default Let Windows Choose option (used in this example) if you want to back up data files in libraries, default Windows folders, the desktop, and create a system image. Select Let Me Choose to choose the libraries and folders to back up and whether to create a system image. With either selection, what you select to back up will be backed up on a regular basis.
  7. Click Next to continue.
  8. Figure 4 Selecting how to back up your system.

  9. Review your backup settings (see Figure 5).
  10. Click Save Settings and Run Backup to start the backup.
  11. Figure 5 Reviewing settings and starting the backup process.

  12. A progress bar is displayed during the backup process (Figure 6).
  13. The capacity graph illustrates the room remaining on the backup drive.
  14. Click View Details to see the current state of the backup.
  15. Figure 6 Running a first-time backup.

  16. The View Details dialog (Figure 7) indicates when backup is complete. Click Close.
  17. Figure 7 Closing the View Details dialog at the end of the backup.

  18. After the first-time backup is complete, the Backup and Restore dialog lists information about the last backup and next scheduled backup (Figure 8).
  19. Figure 8 The Backup and Restore dialog after performing a backup.

Changing the Backup Schedule

By default, Windows Backup and Restore performs scheduled backups every Sunday at 7:00pm. If you want to change the schedule, click Change Schedule on the Review Your Backups Settings dialog (refer to Figure 5) or click Change Settings on the Backup and Restore dialog (refer to Figure 8) and advance through the dialogs until you reach the Review your Backup Settings dialog (Figure 9).

Figure 9 Use the How Often Do You Want to Back Up? dialog to change the time or frequency of scheduled backups.

Frequency choices include Weekly (default), Daily, and Monthly. You can also choose any day of the week and any hour of the day. If you prefer to run backup only when you choose to run it, clear the checkbox (circled) to cancel scheduled backups.

Choose a time that the computer will be running, the backup location is ready, and the computer is not normally in use. Click OK to save changes and return to the backup dialog.

Using the Let Me Choose Option

If you selected Let Me Choose in Step 4, you will see a dialog similar to the one in Figure 10. Data for newly created users and the current user's libraries are backed up, but a system image is not included ("Default" in Figure 10). To back up additional locations, expand locations and click empty checkboxes. To skip selected locations, clear checkboxes. The inset "Possible Options" in Figure 10 shows you how this process works.

Figure 10 Selecting libraries and locations to back up.

When you click Next to continue, the drives, folders, and libraries you have selected are listed in Step 6, along with whether you're creating a system image.

Network Backup Options

Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, and Home Premium editions support backing up only to local drives, but Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions also support backing up to network locations. To back up to a network location, click Save on a Network in Step 2. Then do the following (the step numbers refer to callouts in Figures 11 and 12):

  1. In the Select a Network Location dialog (Figure 11), enter or browse to the network share that will be used for storing the backup.
  2. Enter your credentials for the network location.
  3. If you can browse to the network location without logging in to the remote location, enter the username and password you use to log in to Windows. If you must enter a different username and password to log in to the remote location, enter those credentials instead. Click OK when done.
  4. Figure 11 Specifying a network location for a backup.

  5. After the system verifies that you can write to the location, it appears on the list of destinations. Select it (Figure 12).
  6. To start backing up to the network location, click Next to continue.
  7. Figure 12 Preparing to back up to a network location.

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