> I have Windows XP Home Edition. I want to install SP3. When I
> start, it tells me to backup my system. I am so clueless about
> computers that I don't know how to backup my system. I have all the
> original Window system cds, but I keep putting off this install
> because I don't know what they mean, "backup my system" and I don't
> know how to do it. Also, why do they request that you do a backup
> in the first place?
Answering your *why* first...
You should be continuously backing up at least *your stuff*. Few things in
life give you the capability to have a complete backup standing by in case
of a disaster - so you literally lose nothing but time and it requires a
little effort to be back where you were before the disaster. Computer data
is one of those things that can be completely backed up and restored to the
state it was in before a problem occured. Not doing so is unwise at best.
It is a 'things can and do go wrong' preparation method. You make a copy of
your stuff on a seperate device in case the first device spontaneously
combusts (or the million other things that can go wrong up to that extreme
case.) Installing a service pack is *not* something to take lightly. You
are literally installing over 1100 patches at one time.
Depending on what you are doing, who you are, what you care about, etc -
backing up can have different meanings. You could simply purchase some
external media (blank CDs, blank DVDs, USB Thumb Drives, USB External Hard
Drives, space on a storage web page, use a GMAIL account, another computer
on a network, floppy diskettes, zip disks, etc...) and make a copy of every
file that is important to you. Pictures, documents, emails, contacts,
internet favorites/bookmarks, text files, scriptsd, databases, spreadsheets,
etc. It could be as simple as you occassionally dragging/dropping a copy
onto said media - or you could use some application to get a bit more 'task
oriented' about it - and even schedule it to happen periodically.
Here's some general information...
How To Use Backup to Back Up Files and Folders on Your Computer
Yes - you still need some sort of external media to store the results
on, but you could schedule the backup to occur when you are not around,
then burn the resultant data onto CD or DVD or something when you are
(while you do other things!)
Another option that seems to still be going strong:
A lot of people have wondered about how to completely backup their system
so that they would not have to go through the trouble of a reinstall..
I'm going to voice my opinion here and say that it would be worthless to
do for MOST people. Unless you plan on periodically updating the image
backup of your system (remaking it) - then by the time you use it
(something goes wrong) - it will be so outdated as to be more trouble than
performing a full install of the operating system and all applications.
Having said my part against it, you can clone/backup your hard drive
completely using many methods - by far the simplest are using disk cloning
Acronis True Image
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