Author Topic: More backup advice  (Read 747 times)

More backup advice
« on: July 15, 2008, 11:50:32 am »
Following a recent self-induced Windows XP hiccup and subsequent reinstallation, I have now done what I needed to have done ages ago and acquired an external drive.

I did not lose anything during my reinstall as my hook or by crook I managed to save all my documents, photos and so on.

However, I did of course lose all the settings and configuation choices during the reinstall.

To back up I'm starting to use the backup software on the drive. With certain folders I also just do a drag / drop / replace. All fair enough.

What I don't understand, though, is how to back-up some other items.

Firstly, contacts. At present I simply save an Excel or .csv file once in a while. How do I get the auto backup software to back up these (OUtlook) contacts - what file do I ensure is ticked?

Firefox, Thunderbird and other software configurations - not the data as such, but the views.

Thunderbird emails - can I back these up automatically? Likewise, Firefox favourites: I currently save my bookmarks manually once in a while but how do I do this via the back-up utility?

Settings. How do I save all the Windows settings on my computer?  Wallpaper, folder views, any of the other stuff you have to re-do after a clean install?

Ta for any advice - the manual for the back-up software doesn't really go into all this.


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Re: More backup advice
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2008, 12:04:50 pm »
Most of the stuff can be backed up by backing up the relevant file, for instance Firefox bookmarks are a file called bookmarks.html in the firefox installation directory.

However I would strongly recommend you use something like foxmarks to backup the bookmarks to a central server, thus when you need to rebuild your pc the bookmarks come back automatically, no messing, it also means you can log on anywhere in the world and have your bookmarks (even if not using Firefox, as there is a web interface to your backed up bookmarks).  Foxmarks is available as a plugin for FF.

If exporting your contacts to a CSV directly from Lookout! then they should be in My Documents (i.e. your documents, not my documents.... :) )

Windows settings can be done via "File and Setting transfer wizard" found in Start > Accesories > System Tools, run through the wizard and when it asks for the media, point it at your external drive.

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Re: More backup advice
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2008, 12:49:51 pm »
Most of this stuff is within the "Documents and Settings" directory, which should be at "C:\Documents and Settings" (unless you've moved it), then within the subdirectories for each username on the computer.
So the simplest option would be just to backup this entire directory, then it will also backup your desktop and most Windows settings etc. Though this directory might be quite large, and it probably includes stuff you're not bothered about (eg a 300MB Google Earth cache and lots of temporary files).

If you want to be more specific, for Thunderbird the directory is: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\grvipd00.default
with the last bit being a random string of letters. This should include all of your email and settings etc.
Similarly for Firefox, its probably: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\eihcy9ab.default
which should include your bookmarks, plus any settings, extensions etc.

I don't use Outlook, but I assume it keeps the address book somewhere within Documents and Settings (probably in username\Application Data\Microsoft)

Re: More backup advice
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2008, 10:43:17 pm »
Many thanks both  :)

Tiermat, yes I was hoping there was something like Foxmarks so thanks for that.

I'd never noticed Files and Settings transfer wizard before. I gave it a go but when you get past settings and into file types I'm a bit unclear as to which to save.

Thanks for all that too Craig. Yes, am certainly backing up all the items you mention. Annoyingly my back-up software does not seem to preserve the existing structure / organisation: for instance instead of saving Program Files "as is", it saves a series of "Apps", including, strangely, ones that I removed straight away such as the dreaded Norton.