Backing up your important documents, files, and folders is something you should be doing quite often. A virus or hardware failure could strike at any time and with little warning. Generally speaking, most Windows users keep many of their important files in the my documents folder. In this post, I will take a look at how you can backup the My Documents folder.
Windows Backup and Restore
The easiest way to backup the My Documents folder is to use an automated program or service to do so. Windows comes with a utility called backup and restore that can be scheduled to perform backups. If you use this utility, Windows, by default, will backup the My Documents folder. To access this utility, simply click the Start button and in the search box type in “backup and restore”. Now, just click the link for “backup and restore”. This will bring up a dialog box for the utility. At this point, you can simply go through the process. I would highly recommend that you backup your files to an external hard drive, network drive, or flash drive. Backing your files up to the same physical disk is kind of pointless.
I personally prefer to backup my files to an online location. In particular, I use Mozy online backup since they offer 2GB of Free space and I don’t need more than the free 2GB of space for my important documents. The reason I do this is because I use a laptop and don’t want to carry an external hard drive around. I also have a tendency to loose flash sticks, so I don’t want to put my important files on them. It is easier and more reliable for me to just have my files automatically backup to an online location.
Also, most of these online backup services come with an easy to use application that will automatically backup the “My Documents” folder. Since I can’t fit my music and pictures to the online location for free, I will back these up to an external hard drive every so often. These don’t change as often though. Also, if I wanted, I could always upgrade my Mozy account so I could fit all my documents, music, pictures, etc on their site. One last benefit to backing up online is that these files are accessible from anywhere. So, if I need an important document and I don’t have my laptop, I could grab it from my online backup.
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My Documents Physical Location
It is possible that you want to backup your files manually. If this is the case, it is handy to know the physical location of the My Documents Folder in Windows. Sometimes, Windows will aggregate multiple locations into your documents area. For Windows 7 and 8, you can look in “c:\users\<yourname>\Documents\” or “c:\users\public\documents\”. For Windows XP, you can look in “C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\My Documents”. After you find the correct folder, you can simply copy and paste these files to back them up.