Though Microsoft has now included a ?System Restore? functionality within Windows XP, it does not substitute for regular backups of your system and your data. System Restore is designed primarily to offer unattended system file backups to prevent a new software install or something becoming corrupt from destroying your system. By performing regular system file backups, Microsoft gives the option of quickly restoring your system to working order if something occurs.

This does not, however, backup any user data nor does it provide a complete system backup. To perform these functions, Microsoft includes its own backup utility in Windows which you should become familiar with.

To start the backup program, go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Backup

When you first start the backup program you will see the Backup or Restore Wizard. Start by clicking Next.

Click Next.

Let's choose what to back up by selecting that option and clicking Next.

Select the folders you wish to backup. You can go several folders deep and select one if you do not want the whole root directory. In addition, I selected ?System State? which will backup system information such as the Registry. Once you have selected your folders, click Next.

Choose the location you wish to backup to. Click Next.Click on Advanced to select additional options.

Here you can select your backup type.

Normal is the default and backups up daily normally. The other options changes the type of backup, e.g. a differential backups data that has changed from one backup to another. Leave it as Normal and click Next.

On the ?How to Back Up? screen, we're going to add the Verify data after backup selection so we can make sure the backup is good. Click Next.

You can append the backup to an existing backup ? adding to the data already present ? or you can replace the existing backup ? remove those files. By appending, your disk space will be quickly eaten up. Click Next.You can set a schedule for the backup to run at or just run it now. Click Next.

Click Finish to complete the wizard.

The system will now begin backing up data.

Once it is complete, click Close. You have now backed up the folders you selected.