Computer Backup Checklist Template


If you read this blog often, you know that I highly suggest that you backup your computer and that you do it on a regular basis. To help with this, I would definitely recommend automating your backup. However, even if you automate your backup, you may wonder what you need to be backing up in the first place. Also, if you need to reformat, knowing what to backup before reformatting is quite useful to know. In this post, I am going to take a look at a solid system backup checklist template you can use for your backups.

User Folder or My Documents Folder

Generally, this location will be where most of your important files and folders will be stored. In Windows, you can open up a file explorer window and navigate to the “documents” folder. I would recommend backing up this whole folder. Along with this, if you have any files in the music, pictures or videos folders, you will want to back these up as well.

An alternative to make sure you hit everything is to simply backup the whole user folder. In the newer versions of Windows, you can simply navigate to c:\users\{username}. If you have multiple users, your best bet may be to backup everything in c:\users.

Folders You Setup on Your Own

Did you create any important folders on your own? For example, I personally develop a number of files for websites. These files aren’t stored in the “documents” folder. So, for my backup, I make sure to back these up as well. Have you created any folders like this? If so, make sure to include them in the backup.

Emails and Address Book

If you use a local program like outlook for email, you will want to make sure you backup your emails and your address book. Here is an article from lifehacker talking about how to do this. If you use another local email program, you should be able to search Google for how to backup your specific emails and address book. Keep in mind, if you use a browser based email client like GMail or Yahoo Mail, you won’t need to worry about this. All of the emails and addresses are stored online for these.

Browser Specific Items

Generally, these can all be added back later with relative ease. However, you may want to back these up anyways. Do you have any bookmarks, stored passwords, extensions, etc that are worth backing up? If so, add them to the backup.

Application Files

Many applications store their files in the “documents” folder. However, not all do. One example of this is many games. It is worth a few minutes of your time to look into this a bit to see if any important files are being stored outside of the documents folder. If so, you will surely want to add these to the backup.

Your Desktop

If you are someone who likes to store important files, folders, or bookmarks on the desktop, you will want to back these up as well. In the newer versions of Windows, you can simply open up a file explorer window and navigate to the “desktop” folder. From here, you can backup what you feel is important.

The above is usually what I look for when backing up my personal computer. Hopefully you will find this useful. Know of anything I missed? Please feel free to share any ideas in the comments!

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