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My technical life, day by day.

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Most people keep all their important files in their User File Folder and when your computer takes a dump it’s that User File Folder that they wished that they backed up. Well, wish no more. I am going to show you how to back up your files so that if you ever have to reinstall Windows or reimage your hard drive, all your User Files will be sitting pretty on a removable drive or a FTP server.

NOTE: I am some what sure this same method will work in Windows 7; however I have not used Windows 7 yet, so I am not totally sure it will. If anyone gets this working right in Windows 7 please feel free to comment.

So, what is the User File Folder anyway? Basically, it’s a folder that holds all the pictures, music, documents, downloads, etc for a particular user on Windows Vista. Each user account has its own User File Folder. See the images below, click on them to enlarge them.

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My program of choice to back up my User File Folder is Cobian Backup 9. This program will back up any file or folder you tell it to. It will store the back up on any removable drive you select or even a FTP server, and will compress the back up in .zip file to save space. To back up your user file with Cobian Backup, do the following:

Install Cobian Backup, when asked tell it to install as a service

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Once installed, double click on the mushroom icon in the task bar.

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Right click in the white space to the left and select New Task.

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Under Task Name, put User File Backup. Check off all the check boxes shown and select Full under Backup type. Under Full copies to keep, enter the number of full copies that you want to keep. I keep one.

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Click on Files to the left, under Source, click the Add button and select Directory. You can also click on Drag ‘n’ drop from Explorer to drag and drop files you want to back up into Cobian Backup.

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Select you User File Folder, mine is Omega. Then, select the file folder you want to back up, I will select Documents, then click OK. You could just select the whole User File Folder and click OK to back up the entire folder. Repeat the same steps to add more User Files. Do the same to add the Destination folder for your back up to be stored. I chose my portable hard drive as the destination. 

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Click on Schedule to the left. Under Schedule type, select how often you want to back up your User File.

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Click on Archive to the left. Under Compression, choose what compression format you would like to use. You can choose not to compress the archive if you wish. Here you can also add a password to your archive or encrypt it. When finished, click OK.

Now your User File Folder or the User Folders you choose in your User File Folder will be backed up according to the schedule you selected. When your computer starts Cobian Backup will start and sit idle until its time to backup. I should note that when Vista starts up, it will block Cobian Backup from starting. Vista will notify you that it has blocked the program and will give you the option to unblock it. You will have to do this every time you start Windows. If you want, you can double click on the mushroom icon and double click on the User File Backup icon in the white space to the left to start the backup anytime you wish.

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Notification Vista gives when it blocks a startup program

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Simply right click on the Blocked Startup icon in the taskbar and select Run blocked program and select Cobian Backup.

So there you have it, a easy way to backup your User File. Does anyone have another program or method to back up their files? If you do I’d love to hear about it.

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