A decision must be made on your part as to what you feel needs to be backed up. With most home computers, backing up just the data files - such as word processing documents, spreadsheets, databases, email correspondence, name and address listings, music files, videos and anything else that you have created - should be fine. The reason behind this is that the non-data files of your software are already backed up on the original installation CDs and/or DVDs.

At the other end of the spectrum is a backup of everything on your hard drive. This can be done in two ways: 

The first is to select the drive you wish to back up from the programs selection screen and backing up to a rewriteable drive, such as a CD-RW drive, DVD±RW DL drive, or an external USB Hard Drive (recommended).

The second is using a backup program such as Macrium Reflect. This program will back up your entire system faster and with less hassle.

Data File Backup Programs

  • Macrium Reflect - ($, free for personal use, recommended)
  • Microsoft Backup & Restore (included in Windows 7, 8 and 10)

Imaging Software (Faster & Easier Full Backups)

  • Macrium Reflect - ($, free for personal use, recommended)
  • Microsoft Backup & Restore (included in Windows 7, 8 and 10)