Windows Vista includes a backup utility that provides enough functionality for most home and small office users. Windows Vista makes it easy to back up and restore by including both functions in a single window. To access the backup function, click Start, Control Panel, System and Maintenance, and select Backup and Restore Center.
Windows Vista presents two options for backing up your computer: Back up files and Back up computer. The first option, Back up files, is used to create backup copies of your files and folders. The second option, Back up computer, is used to create a Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore image of your entire computer. This can be used to recover from a hardware failure. Both of these options are designed to provide recovery and should be used together.
When you click the Back up files button, a wizard will prompt you to select a location to save your backup. You can choose a hard disk, CD, DVD or network location. Choose your backup locations and click Next. Now you can choose the files and folders that you want to back up, the frequency of the backup (such as daily), and the time of day when the backup should run. A general rule of thumb is to run your backups when your computer is not being used. Complete the wizard by clicking Save Settings and Start Backup.
Simply backing up your folders and files is not enough because this backup can not be used to restore your computer in the event of failure. The CompletePC Backup, on the other hand, makes a backup image of your entire computer. In the event of something such as hard drive failure, you can use the image backup to restore your computer. The image created includes applications, system settings, files as well as a backup of your boot volume and system volume.
To perform a system backup, click the Back up computer button within the Backup and Restore Center window. Choose the backup location and click Next. Click Save Settings and Start Backup.