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Getting backup files where you want requires a proper backup program. Windows backup on Vista computers has difficulties in that direction.

I have Vista on a Gateway computer. I wanted to backup the whole thing to discs. I opened the backup and restore center and followed the prompts. I clicked "save to discs" and ran it. It ran for a while and said "copying to part D" - ran some more and said to "copying to D" etc. I thought it would maybe tell me to insert a disc when it was done - nope it just went to D. I tried two more times and it did the same thing. I typed, "backup wizard" in the start menu and got the same page. How do I copy D to disc?

In this excerpt from Answercast #81, I look at some difficulties in locating backup files to a CD/DVD player.

Get backup where I want

Well, unfortunately, the short answer for the very specific question you're asking here is I don't know how to get that backup program to actually output to a disc such as you're saying.

I'm assuming you mean a CD or DVD that you have ready in your CD or DVD writable drive.

Windows backup for Vista

The problem here is that it sounds like you're using Windows backup; the backup program that was included with Windows. Unfortunately, with Windows XP and Windows Vista, those backup programs? Well... they're just not that good for various reasons. Some of the confusion you're experiencing is one of them.

With Windows 7, things got a little bit better. It's actually somewhat more useable.

But with Windows Vista, and Windows XP before it, most experts, (myself included) no longer recommend using the Windows backup program; it's just not worth it. It's too risky.

Backup program recommendation

Given how important backups are, it's much more suitable to go out and get yourself a "real" backup program that works and works well. I do have a recommendation for that.

My recommendation to solve your specific problem is that you go grab a copy of Macrium Reflect. They have a free edition which will now allow you to do a complete image backup of your C drive to whatever media you want.

External drives for backup

I typically recommend you use external hard drives rather than CDs and DVDs - simply because our systems are so large these days. That's a lot of CDs (and actually still a lot of DVDs) to back the whole thing up. Whereas a single external hard drive will hold the whole backup.

The free program will do that for you. The paid for program will allow you to do things like schedule and have a little bit more flexibility in terms of the types of backups that you're trying to create. But, even the free one is better than the Windows backup that you've attempted to use.

So, unfortunately, ultimately, my answer to this question is don't do what you're doing. Go grab a copy of a "real" backup program, like Macrium Reflect, and use that to perform the backup you're trying to perform.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Article C6169 - December 23, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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1 Comment
December 26, 2012 2:30 AM

Hi Leo
Surely the problem with Macrium Reflect free is that it will do only full backups. This I believe can be extremely time consuming, so I must argue that very few people will be that diligent, ergo it is not of much use. My own Acer laptop has a built in Image backup system which I do use as I really don't have much choice, as I have found that 2 Image backups on same machine cause some problems, especially over time. a full backup will take over 3 hours, while an incremental backup will take on average under 30 mins !
Question:- For my Pictures, Documents, Videos, Music, MBR etc I use Comodo Backup. I have used this for 4 years now and it works well. Comodo Backup does also back up the entire system anywhere and does include incremental backup's.
So why have you never mentioned it in your articles. I for one would appreciate your views on the matter.

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