Making important files accessible for Backup

Backup Info

The following instructions are for Windows 98 and Xp users.

Backing up your files to a Thumb Drive are for XP, Vista, Windows 7 & Mac's.

This tutorial was written and passed on to me by Ivan Collver

To make file backup easy, the first thing you need to do is create a Folder on your HD where you are going to keep the data you want to backup. Then create Sub Folders as set out below.

I found that locating all the data files that change in a common directory (My Documents) would accomplish this. I placed each of the system data files under this directory.

Below are the most common and others are available.
New Sub-Folders are MSFax and Outlook Express and should be added before copying the old folders to the common directory.
Then you need only drag and drop the Common file to a CDR or CDRW to have a backup.

Create Your New Folders

Your new folders should look something like this:-

My Documents\OutlookExpress
My Documents\OutlookExpress\Favorites
My Documents\OutlookExpress\Address Book
My Documents\OutlookExpress\Identities
My Documents\My Fax
My Documents\My Fax\MSFax


Original File Locations

The Windows Address Book is located at:

XP = C:\Documents and Settings\{Username}\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book
98 = C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book

The Outlook Express sent and received messages data is located at:

XP = C:\Documents and Settings\{Username}\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities
98 = C:\Windows\Application Data\Identities

Favorites is located at:

XP = C:\Documents and Settings\{Username}\Favorites
98 = C:\Windows\Favorites

My Documents is located at:

XP = C:\Documents and Settings\{Username}\My Documents
98 = C:\My Documents

MS Fax is located at:

XP = C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows NT\MSFax
98 = C:\Windows\MSFax


The Copy Process

Once you have found the files at the above locations :-
Copy Favorites, Address Book and Identities folders. to:-
C:\My Documents\OutlookExpress
Copy MS Fax to:-

C:\My Documents\My Fax (I used DATA as my common file name).


Changing the system default locations

You can use TweakUI ** to change the folder locations in the system for Favuorites.
TweakUI is available from Microsoft through Powertoys for Windows XP. It is also available for Windows 98.
In XP Open TweakUI and expanded My Computer, go to Special Folders and clicked the PullDown.
Go to Favorites and select Change Location.
Change the location to C:\My Documents\OutlookExpress\Favorites and click OK.

In Windows 98 TweakUI is Accessed through the Control Panel, use the General tab and change the locations in the Special Folders. Be sure that you have copied the old folder information in the new location first.

Change the Identities in Outlook Express; Tools, Options, Maintenance, Store Folder and change the path that precedes {Identities} with C:\My Documents\OutlookExpress.
This will change the Registry entry but no Registry hacking is necessary.

Change the Registry entry in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Wab\Wab File Name by changing the Data to
C:\My Documents\OutlookExpress\Address Book\{Username}.wab in XP.
Copy the original data entry to a NotePad text file so you can go back if there is a problem.
(You can do a search of the registry for WAB to locate the Address file.) In Windows 98, I found the address book in:-
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Wab\Wab4\WAB file Name.

You should always find the default setting in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft Directory of the registry so you can step forward to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER to start the search no matter what Windows OS you are using.

I changed the name of the old files by adding a .xxx to the name, rebooted and tested the My Folders, Address Book, Favorites MS Fax and Outlook Express Mail data to see if they all worked. I would suggest, if you are not sure of yourself, that the changes be made one at a time and tested so you can easily find any problems, if they arise. Troubleshooting will be much easier. I deleted these files with the .xxx suffix when I had tested all the changes. You can move them to a C:\Delete_Later folder for safety and keep a record of where you find the original file and the modifications you made if they are different from those listed above.

I have all of my Word, Spreadsheet and database files default-located in the C:\My Documents directory as sub categories. I.E. Word, Excel, Spreads, Database, Access. Ect. These settings are found in the various programs usually in a Options or User settings menu item. As an example, I put my MS Word files in C:\My Documents\Word. If you use Quicken or MS Money, after copying the files to the common directory, you need only open the program and use the File and Open the new location to change the location of where to find the file. This process will also tell you where your present file is located. Explore the file relocation options in TweakUI for other files to be relocated to fit your needs.

All you need to do now each time you want to backup your data, is, to drag and drop the My Documents folder to a CDR or CDRW.
Users of Earthlink, Juno and NetZero have their E-mail, Favorites and Addresses in other locations. This may be applicable to AOL also so this is not a complete list of locations.


Backing up your files to a Thumb Drive on XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Mac's

  • Set the Thumb Drive to a fixed drive number like T:\ or X:\ by right clicking on My Computer and selecting Manage.
  • Select Disk Management, right click on the thumb drive and select change drive letter and paths.
  • Select change and select the new drive letter. This way it will always be at that location after a Power Up Start or Re-boot.
  • Make folders on the thumb drive for each program like My Word for MS Word and My Excel for MS Excel. I use a separate Thumb drive for my Bookkeeping and it is a Lacie MosKey 8 Gb which is very small and can be plugged into a front USB port of a Desktop or a side port of a Laptop without sticking out where is can be caught on clothing and be broken.
  • Set the default save location to that thumb drive.

Quicken and Word being two of my most important files, are always saved on the thumb drive. I set the options in MS Word and Excel, making the My Word and My Excel on the Thumb drive as the default file location. The only backup that is made is a quarterly copy of the Thumb drives to an Optical disk. A 4 Gb thumb drive can be copied to a DVD. I have 8 Clients and none have experienced a failure or a loss of data using this method of data storage.

An ISO Image was made of the business computers using Clonezilla. The ISO image was save to a Thumb drive also.

I have had only one computer have a catastrophic hard disk failure. As the system had about 30 Gb of the hard disk used by the business' programs and a spare 60 Gb hard disk was available, it took a little under 2 hours to install the new hard drive and install the ISO Image. With a couple of software updates installed and the Thumb drives in place, the customer was up and working in little over 2 hours. Those who have more than one computer in their place of business, a second computer is setup to replace the main computer so only a transfer of Thumb drives is necessary. The work station is not available but the office system is on line in just a few minutes.

Photos and Videos are usually very large files. Most small businesses do not store these files on Thumb drives but use a networked computer's hard drive. With the introduction of Solid State Hard Drives, this may become a problem in the past.

One client has his complete Patient database on a thumb drive and as a backup, places a copy on a second Thumb Drive. He also removes the thumb drive from the Office computer when he goes home at night and there is no patient information saved on the hard drives at the office.
One thing to also consider is that the thumb drive is much faster and never goes to sleep.


DropBox Online Storage

Dropbox is a free service that lets you take your images, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily and will not have to send yourself a file by email again. When you first setup an account you get 2gig of free space.

Share folders allowing people to work together on the same projects and documents.

Invite your friends and family to setup an account, once done each account will be increased in size.
Create a folder where you can build photo galleries viewable by anyone you choose.
Send a link to any file in your Dropbox using your Public folder.
Dropbox works with Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.

Follow this link to sign up for your free account Get a Free Account