Backing Up Your Computer

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Thread Starter
Jan 10, 2013
Hi Folks - this is my 1st post here, so please bear with me because compared to most folks here....I'm sure I'm very low on the totem pole of computer knowledge.

I just started with computers about 7 years ago (I'm 59) & I'm just self taught. I got started with computers because I like to play poker & when I used to live out West....there were plenty of "live" venues (casino's, Poker Rooms) to play at. When I moved to GA where I live now, they have no "live" venues, so I decided to learn how to play on the interet because I knew that online poker was booming at the time.

By the way, as anybody else who is an American internet poker player poker for American players has been going downhill ever since 2006 & it is at the point now where it is for lack of a better analogy....on life support.....why?......because our politicians don't have anything better to do.....actually, the one who did the most massive damage hasn't been a politician for a long time.

ANYWAY - sorry for getting off track. What I'd like to know is this. I would like to back-up my computer with CD-R disks. I tried backing up my computer once before with special disks made specifically for my computer....and everything seemed to be going fine....and when I finally got to the end of the 3rd and last disk & pressed the final button to finish it all up (I'm not sure I'm describing this exactly was a long time ago, but it's close), it said something like "BACK UP HAS FAILED" (something along those lines).

I'd also like to mention that I'm on my 2nd computer. My first computer was a low end Dell computer that only had one drive ( to stick in a disk to make it clear....I don't think drive is the right word).....& it didn't have a floppy drive either.

And the one drive it did could put a disk in it and transfer the data to the computer.....but you couldn't transfer stuff from the computer on to the disk. I wanted to be able to do this to make (burn) CD-R's. So I had to buy a seperate drive & hook it up to my computer and that did the trick.

I got rid of that Dell a while back & got a used HPxw 6400 Workstation. This one only has one place to put in a disk also, but I think with this one you can do it both ways, although I've never tried it because I have that other drive I bought when I had the Dell hooked up to my HP & still use that to burn CD-R's.

ANYWAY - with that info. Can I back up the stuff on my system that most folks would feel was important enough to back up (I'm not sure what this would be, although I know there are some things I surely want backed up such as hand histories from poker games I've played in and all my music & I have developed a very long list of favorites).

Another thing I want to back up is the notes I have on other poker players - every poker site has a place to take notes on your opposition. I've had the situation before where an internet poker site was going to totally upgrade their I was supposed to make a folder for all these notes, & when the upgrade was complete. I was told what to do to make all the notes go back to the right players. It never worked....I lost thousands of notes I had painstakingly taken over a long period of time.

So can I back up the stuff I mentioned along with whatever else folks would recommend me to back up just using my CD-R's? And if I can.....could somebody explain to me how to do it like you are explaining it to a complete novice.....whcih I am when it comes to trying to back up a computer.

You know, once you learn how to do something, after a while it can seem 2nd nature - like it is for me now to do anything on any online poker site. But when I 1st started trying to play online poker on the was hilarious. I was getting error messages all over the place just trying to register, never mind playing. Now I can register & play at a site with my eyes closed (at least at the tiny bit of sites left for Americans).

Anyway - I guess that last paragraph was a plea for mercy. Once I am able to back up my computer one time & then do it more over the will be a cakewalk.

But right now, I'm gonna need all the help that anyone is patient enough to give me after this unmercifully long question. Any takers? Instructions please? Step by step if possible. Remember, it is better to give than to receive.

How about some humor to get the right person in the mood? G-rated.

A guy joins a monastery and takes a vow of silence: he’s allowed to say two words every seven years. After the first seven years, the elders bring him in and ask for his two words. "Cold floors," he says. They nod and send him away. Seven more years pass. They bring him back in and ask for his two words. He clears his throats and says, "Bad food." They nod and send him away. Seven more years pass. They bring him in for his two words. "I quit," he says. "That’s not surprising," the elders say. "You’ve done nothing but complain since you got here."

Sep 11, 2010
To help us help you,please use the TSG System Info tool to let Tech's know the specs of your computer: Copy and paste the results here in your thread. You can use the TSG Info to fill in your computer information in your user profile as well.

Also, if its a brand name system like an Acer,Dell or HP, please post the exact model of the system.


Thread Starter
Jan 10, 2013
Thanks for the reply.

Tech Support Guy System Info Utility version
OS Version: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 3, 32 bit
Processor: Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU 5140 @ 2.33GHz, x86 Family 6 Model 15 Stepping 6
Processor Count: 4
RAM: 2047 Mb
Graphics Card: NVIDIA Quadro NVS 285 128MB, 128 Mb
Hard Drives: C: Total - 68111 MB, Free - 20586 MB; D: Total - 8197 MB, Free - 6418 MB;
Motherboard: Hewlett-Packard, 0A04h
Antivirus: Norton Internet Security, Updated: Yes, On-Demand Scanner: Enabled

My computer is an HP xw6400 Workstation

If you need any more info, just let me know.

Apr 26, 2003
Hello EagleClaw92, and welcome to TSG Forums...

I, too, am of "advanced years" and self taught about computers. Another thing we have in common is the age at which we started. I've been messing around with them for about 20 years or so now. This forum has been of great help to me on many computer related questions, problems and solutions. Its also a great source of general info about current stuff going on with the internet. captainron276 suggestion to post your system specs with TSG System Info Utility was spot on.

Now, on to your posted question. The very first item I would advise you to consider is to NOT use CD's/DVD's to store backup files. CD's/DVD's are vulnerable to physical damage and for long term storage have been known to deteriorate over time. The most reliable and convenient media to store backup files is to a second hard drive, either internal or external connected via USB. Internal is faster as its not limited by the USB buss speed.

It is also commonly recommended here on TSG (and what I use) to use a program called Acronis True Image for creating backups. There are some free backup programs available for download, but none I know of is as comprehensive and easy to use as Acronis.The program costs about $30 - $40, depending on where you purchase it (Amazon usually has a good price). It can be used to backup your entire hard drive (highly recommended), and/or you can backup selected files as you choose. Additionally, one can explore the backup image of the hard drive and recover selected files. You can update any backup using what's called an incremental backup, which records only what has changed since the original backup was created.

If you choose not to go with the second hard drive, a really good alternative is flash drives. They simply plug into a USB port and appear as another drive on My Computer or Windows Explorer. You can place files on them with simple right-click>drag and drop>copy. One piece of advice... Any files you have particular concern about, create copies to TWO flash drives. Redundancy is always a good practice. If you choose to continue to use CD's, that redundancy precaution is also prudent with that process.

BTW... I purchase my flash drives at Costco. They have 3 packs of Sandisk Cruzer 4GB or 8GB drive for a reasonable price.

I hope all this is of some help in your learning process and not a confusion factor... :) Post back with any questions you may have for me or others and I'm sure you will gain knowledge and experience on this forum. I've frequented a number of tech forums over the years and this one is head and shoulders above the rest.
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