In today's world it has never been more important to backup your computer files. Still most people do not think of backing up their data until it's too late. You need a plan of action before your computer hardware goes out or before your Windows Vista operating system takes a dive.
All most all versions of Windows Vista have some sort of auto backup feature included in the operating system. Vista starter does not and only basic functionality in Vista home. Business and Ultimate have a complete backup and restore function. This is what you really want to use but for all the other Vista versions it is not included and third party software should be used in it's place.
What Can I backup?
Ultimate and Business have a full backup feature. This allows you to make an image of your drive. In English it backups up all programs, settings and files. If your drive crashes or you have a hardware failure you simply take this image and reload it. You will not have to re-install all your other computer files and programs. It's the best and easiest method. Because of the cost to develop such software most home end users will not have these two OS versions.
For Home and Premium you are not able to backup programs but can backup settings and personal files and folders like documents, pictures, music and the like. If you do not buy backup software then you should at least take advantage of this free feature in Vista.
What do I need for backup?
Only you can decide the best backup solution. Personally it's a no brainer for me. I have 40 plus programs installed on my system so I need a full image backup of my computer in case it goes down. I don't have time to re-load and look for all my software discs. I use Vista premium and while Microsoft's free backup program is nice it does not do the full backup that I want.
Most newer computers have two hard drives in them already. If yours does then consider making one just for the backup of your system. You should never backup the data onto the same drive were the original data is stored. If you do not have a second hard drive then consider paying a hundred plus dollars and getting an external one. Sundays paper is a great way to look for deals on this.
If you had to choose a particular backup program I would say go with Acronis. This is one of the few computer backup programs on the market that lets you do a full image backup and is very easy to use. The cost is the same as most and for the money it is one of the best on the market. Not all people will need a full image backup. If you have many programs installed then you should consider it. Regardless you really need to develop a data backup plan and stick to it. Some day you will thank your lucky stars that you did.
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