Has your computer ever crashed on you? I don’t mean the normal everyday, “I’m a Microsoft Product so I must shutdown” crashes, I mean really crashed where you cannot boot back up. Where your hard drive just quit working or some other major problem made you lose all of your data.
It’s like losing your wallet. Losing your money isn’t so bad, but all that time getting new ID, credit cards, and other important papers is aggravating. On your computer there is a lot of data we take for granted every day.
Documents we have created, music we have downloaded, pictures we have saved, and so much more. Most people know its wise to back up those items onto a CD-ROM or onto storage space somewhere on the web, but what are some of the other things you should be backing up?
Do you allow cookies to be stored on your computer to remember your login information for websites that you visit a lot? Then you also need to find the “cookies” folder on your computer and back that up as well. In Windows 98 its in C:\windows\cookies. In Windows XP, its in C:\documents and settings\username\cookies.
Do you know all of your passwords by heart? Do you use a program to manage passwords? If you use a program, find it, probably in program files, and back up the files inside that folder that related to your saved password files. If you ever have to reinstall that program you can re-add those files into the new folder and have all of your old password files.
If you do not use a program, you need to have a system of recovering those passwords if your computer ever quits on you. If you do not have one, create one and add all of your new passwords you create to it. Don’t put it in your wallet.
Hit F3 on your computer and select search for files on C Drive. Type in ().PWL() without the parenthesis. It’s the asterisk dot pwl asterisk with no spaces. Hit search and windows will find all of the password files for you. To find them manually, check C:\windows. Back up those files if you want your computer logins to remain the same.
What about your email? Not just the saved email, but the entire folder structure you spent time creating, your address book, and your account information with all of the right settings to send and receive email. You will want to back these up whenever you do all of your other backups.
First, how to backup all of the email and folder structure in Outlook Express. Open Outlook Express. Go to tools, options, maintenance. There will be a button there that says “store folder”. Click on that. Highlight the entire path that comes up in the little text box. Now hit cancel and cancel to close all popups.
Click on “start” in your task bar. Go to run. Paste the path you just copied into the text box and hit enter. A folder will open. Go to edit, select all, then go to edit again and select “copy”. Now close that folder. Right click on your computer desktop, select new, folder.Rename that folder “mailbackup”. Open that folder. Go to edit, paste.
Leave that folder open so you can backup your mail account settings and information. Now go back to Outlook Express. Go to tools, accounts, mail. You will do the following for each mail account you have. Highlight one account, Click Export. Browse to where the mailbackup file is on your desktop and export it into there. Once you do that with each account, you can cancel out of the open dialog boxes.
Now, for your address book. Go to Outlook Express one more time. Go to export. Choose address book. Choose text file. Browse again to the mailbackup folder and export it to there.
Now using winzip or other file compression utility, you can zip the mailbackup folder up and back it up to CD-ROM or to an online storage place. Make a schedule of backing these things I have included in the article. Consider it insurance against a hard drive crash. Believe me, if you use the web a lot, you’d almost rather lose your wallet than lose all of your computer data.