When it comes to lost or corrupt data, no one is exempt — not even home users. Since data can be lost or corrupt by various means — viruses, power failures, floods, etc. — it is very important to devise a strategy for recovering from data loss.

Many companies have elaborate plans in place to recover from data loss. For the home user, simply performing a regular backup of data can help prevent data loss because you can restore files that are lost or corrupted. Unfortunately, home users often overlook their backup plan. To make sure you do not lose the files that you create, modify, and store on your home computer, you should back them up regularly. The frequency that you perform backups will depend on critical your files are.

If you are running Vista, you do not need to purchase any additional software to backup your files. You can use the Backup and Restore Center to manually back up your files any time or you can set up automatic backups to run at a preset schedule.

To back up files in Vista:

  1. Click Start and click Control Panel.
  2. Click System and Maintenance.
  3. Click Backup and Restore Center.
  4. Click Back up files. A wizard will launch to walk you through the process of configuring a back up.

Once the back up is complete, be sure to store your backup media — which many be a DVD, CD, or external hard disk — is a separate, secure location.

Note: Windows Home Basic Edition does not support scheduled backups. The backups must be run manually.