Backing up Your Files on Windows

Backing up your files is an important part of computing. You should back up your files regularly to protect your data, but also when IT Services puts an image on your computer. When your computer is imaged, all of the data on your hard drive is erased. Then, the computer is reinstalled with a fresh copy of the operating system and the standard set of University software, including Microsoft Office and Eudora. Also, if you are receiving a new computer, you would need to back up your files to put on the new machine.

For information on how to back up your Macintosh, click here.  For information on backing up your Windows PC, read on.  If you need additional assistance, please contact the IT Service Center.

What Kinds of Files Should You Back Up?

Data Files

Back up all of your data files that you’ve created in applications like Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Mathematica, PageMaker, and any other software applications that you use. These files may be located in their respective directories, additional directories that you may have created, or any other place you may have saved them. You may have also saved files in your Personal directory. Please note that IT Services recommends that you do not use the Personal directory, and that you change this MS Office default


If you use Eudora to read your e-mail, look for these files in your Eudora directory: in.mbx, in.toc, out.mbx, and out.toc. If you’ve created other mail folders, look for the folder name followed by the .mbx and .toc. The nickname files to back up are nndbase.toc and nndbase.txt. The signature file is signatur.pce. Also, if you receive attachments in Eudora, look in the Attach folder to see if you have any files you’d like to save. If you’re unsure about which Eudora files to back up, you can back up the entire Eudora directory.


If you use bookmarks in Netscape, look for a file in your Netscape directory called bookmarks.htm. In the 4.x versions of Netscape, bookmark.htm can be found in C:Program FilesNetscapeUsersDefault.

Graphics and Sounds

If you’ve downloaded any special graphics or sounds for your desktop, back up these files as well.

Additional Software

Any additional software that you have installed (i.e., software not included on the image) may not need to be backed up. If you are getting a new computer or image, make sure that you have the original installation disks for additional applications that you want installed. Also, make sure that you have the licensing information available, as you will be prompted for license numbers when you reinstall.

How Do You Back up Your Files?

There are several ways you can back up your files.

  • You can copy your files to floppy disk. Depending on the size on how many files you have, this can take a lot of time and floppies!

  • If you have a Zip drive, you can copy your files to a Zip disk, which range in size from 100MB to 250MB.

  • Or, an easy and fast way to back up your files is to copy them to your Y: network drive.

No matter where you put the files, a good way to get them there is to use the Windows NT Explorer.

  1. Navigate to the directory or subdirectory where the files are stored. Select the file(s) you want to save. [You can click on single files individually, use [Shift]-click to select a consecutive range of files, or [Ctrl]-click to select multiple non-consecutive files.]

  2. From the Edit menu, click on Copy.

  3. Click on the destination drive letter. From the Edit menu, select Paste.

  4. You can also drag and drop the files where you want to save them.

For Windows NT 4.0 users, if you are comfortable using My Computer, you can also copy files in this way. Navigate through the folders, find the files you want, and either copy and paste (described above) or drag and drop the files to the destination drive.

To keep all of these files organized, it helps to create directories on the destination drive that correspond to the file types. For example, create a Eudora directory in which to save your Eudora files.

Restoring Backed-up Files

Once your computer has been imaged or you have received your new computer, you’ll want to restore your backed-up files. This process is very similar to creating the back-ups, described above.

Data Files

You can create directories on your newly imaged machine or new computer and copy your data files. Or, you may consider storing your data files on your Y: network drive. Only you have access to this drive, and it frees up disk space on your hard drive.

Eudora Files

If you backed up the entire original Eudora directory, you can copy this directory to C:Eudora. You will be prompted if you want to replace the existing files. Click on {Yes}. If you selected individual files from the original Eudora directory, select those files and copy them to the new Eudora directory. Again, you will be prompted if you want to replace the existing files. Click on {Yes}.


Copy your bookmark.htm file to C:Program FilesNetscapeDefault.

Additional Software

Use your original installation disks and reinstall the software. You may need to call the IT Service center and ask them to dispatch a technician to install the software, as many installs require administrative access.

Graphics and Sounds

Copy these files to the appropriate directory.

You may want to keep the back-ups that you have created, especially for important documents. Backing up your files is the best way to protect against losing data.

If You Need Help

If you need help in backing up your files, please call the IT Service Center at 785-4544. A specialist can either assist you over the phone or make arrangements for someone to come to your office.