Whether or not you take steps to protect yourself, there will always be a possibility that something will happen to destroy your data. You have probably already experienced this at least once losing one or more files due to an accident, a virus or worm, a natural event, or a problem with your equipment. Regularly backing up your data on a CD or network reduces the stress and other negative consequences that result from losing important information. Determining how often to back up your data is a personal decision. If you are constantly adding or changing data, you may find weekly backups to be the best alternative; if your content rarely changes, you may decide that your backups do not need to be as frequent. You don't need to back up software that you own on CD-ROM or DVD-ROM; you can reinstall the software from the original media if necessary.
Windows XP Professional users should visit Microsoft's page titled Use Backup to Protect Data.
Windows XP Home Edition users can install the Backup utility from CD-ROM. Instructions can be found at Microsoft's How to Install Backup for Windows XP Home.
Windows Vista offers multiple layers of backup and restore protection. Learn about it on the Windows Vista Basic File Backup and Restore page.
Mac users can find a variety of backup utilities at Apple's System/Disk Utilities Downloads, including:
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