Backup Data

It is impossible to stress how important it is for you to backup your files on a regular basis.
If you choose not to back up your own files, you risk losing important data.

Why do you need backups?
When should you make backups?
How to backup files?
Recovering files that were backed up

Why do you need backups?

  • Hard drives do crash
  • Files can accidentally be deleted or become corrupt
  • Viruses can corrupt or delete files
  • You may upgrade to a new computer and need to move your files.

When should you make backups?

If you wonder how often you should back up your data, just ask yourself, "How many days work can I afford to lose"? Whenever you make changes to files, or add new files, you need to back up your files again. It is a good practice to back up your files on a daily basis. If you are working on a critical project, you may want to back it up even more often.

How to backup Files

There are a number of ways to back up your work:

  1. Copy files to your home area (U: drive)
    Information Solutions and Services do not take responsibility for user data. If you choose to backup your work to the U: drive, please be familiar with Information Solutions and Services Backup Policy.
    NUI Galway staff and students who connect to the UDS platform can have 200MB of personal, secure, password-protected space in their home area (U: drive). Every night that server is backed up. If you copy your important files to your home area, you will then have multiple copies in case of emergency; one on your hard drive, one in your home area (U: drive), and copies on the nightly backup tapes that can be restored in emergencies (Please note, however, that Information Solutions and Services do not take responsibility for user data).

    Example of saving and backing up a Microsoft Word document 

    If your work requires the backup of large amounts of data, please contact the  Service Desk (Tel. x5777 eMail to discuss other methods of backing up your work.

  2. Copy files to a different media
    The media you choose to backup your files will depend on the quantity of data to be backed up and how frequently it changes. Options include:
    1. USB Keys - come in a variety of sizes
      To copy files to a USB Key
      (A) Drag and Drop
      Use the drag and drop facility within My Computer to copy files from the U: drive to your USB Key.
      This is achieved by clicking once on the file in question and holding down the mouse button whilst dragging the file over to the USB drive icon, then letting go of the mouse button. A copy will be made.
      (B) Copy and Paste
      In My Computer, use the Copy command from the Edit menu when the file you want to copy is selected (left click). Then at the USB drive icon, select the Paste command from the Edit menu.
    2. Recordable CD-ROMs (CD-R) - can hold 650MB but data cannot be overwritten
    3. Re-writable CD-ROMs (CR-RW) - can hold 650MB/700MB and data can be erased and re-written on the CD-RW
    4. Dual-layer DVDs - can hold 8.5GB

      A note on CDs and DVDS
      There can be a lot of confusion when it comes to CDs and DVDs so let's cover some basics.
      Many CD drives can also read DVDs.  If the CD drive on your machine says 'DVD-ROM' it means that it will read DVDs but it is NOT a DVD burner. DVD burners will say 'DVD Writable' or 'DVD RW' or 'DVD Multi Recorder'. When buying blank DVDs, it is easy to buy the wrong type. Your DVD burner should say either 'DVD ' or 'DVD-'.  You should buy blank DVDs that correspond with your burner.

  3. Use Windows XP Backup Utility
  4. Use Windows 7 Backup and Restore Utility

What Files to Back Up

At NUI Galway, you never need to backup your operating system or supported software as Information Solutions and Services can always reinstall these. Backup only your personal files. Information Solutions and Services cannot protect you from loss of files, nor can we take responsibility for finding and backing up all your personal files. For this you will need to get to know your system, identify the files you need to keep safe, and make frequent backups. You also need to check your backups occasionally to ensure that you can actually restore data from them.

Where to look for files to backup
Personal files can be stored in any number of places. Each application you use will save files in a "default" folder or you can save to any location you choose. It is important to notice where you are saving files and not simply rely on the program's default location. If you know where you are saving files, you will know what folders to back up for safety.

As a starting point you should back up the following:

Microsoft Windows PC

  • Email  (Outlook.pst, Archive.pst)
  • Internet Explorer Favourites  (C:Documents and SettingsUserFavourites.html)
  • EndNote library (libraryname.enl and associated .DATA file)
  • My Documents  (Or whatever personal folder you use for your documentation)
  • Current ’works-in-progress’ (Projects, Research, Presentations etc.)

Apple Macintosh

  • Email  (Personal Address Book, Personal Folder
  • Internet Explorer Favourites  (System:Preferences:Explorer:Favourites.html)
  • EndNote library (libraryname.enl and associated .DATA file)
  • FTP Configurations (Fetch Prefs and Shortcuts in the System: Preferences folder )
  • Documents  (Or whatever personal folder you use for your documentation)
  • Current ’works-in-progress’ (Projects, Research, Presentations etc.)

Recovering Files that Were Backed Up

If you are restoring a file that has been lost or corrupt, simply find the file wherever you chose to back it up and use drag and drop copy it to your original location.

If you are copying your backup files to a new computer, go over the process of locating the default folders for your applications again, but this time on the new computer. This allows you to ensure that files save in the same folder name as before, or if software or your operating system has changed, that you know the default folder selected for saving on the new computer. If in doubt, create a file and note where it is saved on the new computer. Use drag and drop to copy your files to the locations you want the files placed on your new hard drive. Open your applications and make sure you can find, see and retrieve the files you've copied.

If you need a file on your U: drive restored, please contact the Service Desk (Tel. x5777 eMail  Files saved on your U: drive within the last 28 days should be recoverable and can usually be recovered within 3 days.