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Emergency Backup Procedure

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Old 10-26-2008, 05:09 PM   #1
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This information is written on the assumption that you have no experience in copying files. It is a simple process. A step-by-step process is explained below.

The process makes an emergency copy of your important files such as letters, photographs, music and other important files prior to removal of malware from your computer

If you are reading this because you have an infected machine and need to backup (copy) your data files, it must be understood that there is a risk of copying contaminated files. The emergency backup made in the fashion described below must be kept quarantined until your computer is declared clean by our qualified analysts. You must not use or open any file in your backup copy until the analyst advises you. You will be given advice on checking and cleaning the emergency backup later.

Emergency Backup Procedure
This is a simple procedure and does not need any special software. It uses the built in procedure of ‘Copy & Paste’.

Windows 95, 98, ME and XP:
Most of your important data will be in ‘My Documents’.

Vista has a slightly different folder structure. Most of your important files will be in ‘Documents’, ‘Downloads’, Favorites', 'Music' & ‘Videos’ etc. The general copy and paste method is the same but you have to include the extra folders

Windows 7 (Win7)
The procedure is very similar to Vista. However, Microsoft have renamed 'Documents' etc. back to the original 'My Documents'. Most of your important files will be in 'Favorites', 'Downloads', 'My Documents', 'My Music', 'My Pictures', and 'My Videos'. If you have created any extra folders in which to store data, then these too must be copied.

You can store your emergency copy on any media; Hard drive, CD/CVD/Blueray/Tape/SD or CF card or what have you.

This emergency backup is to be kept only as a temporary measure and in all probability will be deleted after it is confirmed that your machine is clear of malware and that your data is safe.

That said, as you may one day forget what is on a disk, it is not recommended to copy it to hard media such as CD/DVD for long term archiving due to the risk of re-introducing malware via contaminated files. If that is the only option, it is best to destroy the emergency copy after your machine is declared clean. Once the machine is declared clean, it would be a very wise thing to make another copy of all your important data and keep it as an archive copy.

The ideal place of storing an emergency backup is on a separate hard drive or other device such as an external hard drive, USB memory stick, SD/CF card or any device that will be seen as a mass storage device by your computer.


Win 95, 98 me and XP
1) Click the ‘Start’ button at the bottom left of your screen

Fig 1:

2) Click on ‘My Documents’

Fig 2:

3) My Documents folder:

Fig 3:

Hold the CTRL key down and then press ‘A’. (This is known as Ctrl-A).
This will highlight all the folders and files to be copied.

4) Select ‘Edit’ and then ‘Copy to Folder’

Fig 4:

5) Select the destination folder. In this example, the external drive ‘Pluscom WD500GB’ was chosen.
You can use a USB memory stick or even a memory card such as a CF or SD card from your camera, PDA, smart phone etc, using a card reader.

Fig 5:
Click ‘Copy’ to start the copying process.


Fig 6:
This image shows the progress of the copying. (Ignore the ‘timing’ – it is never correct!).
When the progress window closes, the copying job is complete.


Vista and Windows 7:
The process is fundamentally the same as XP. However the folder structure is different. In Vista, ‘My documents’ becomes just ‘Documents’. In Windows 7, some of the folder names have 'My' added back to them.

Other folders containing your important files such as Music (My Music), Pictures, and Videos (My Videos) etc are separated outside of the main ‘Documents’. So a slightly different procedure is adopted.

1) Click the ‘Start’ button at the bottom left of your screen.

Fig1 :

2) Click on ‘Documents’

Fig 2:

3) Scroll the left window until you can see your name.
Then click on your name.

Fig 3:

This places the Folder ‘Tree’ in the right hand window.

4) Place your cursor (mouse) over the first folder you want to copy.. Hold down the ‘CTRL’ key... (don’t let go until told to)... then do a single click on ‘Documents’ ('My Documents) to highlight it. Then move the mouse to the next folder, say ‘Music’ (My Music) and click that too. Continue to click only the folders you want to copy...

Fig 4

... Still holding the CTRL key down, do a single RIGHT mouse click. When you see the pop-up window you can let go of the CTRL key.

Click ‘Send To’ to open up the selection panel.
Then select the place where you want to place the copies of your folders

Fig 5:

Fig 6:

Fig 6: When the 'Copying' popup closes, the job in done.


We recommend that a proper and regular backup regime is implemented.
To help make this a simple and easy job, please see the sister article:-

'Quick & Easy Backup Regime'


V3.0 - Article updated 28th December 2010 to include references to Windows 7.
© 2010 Techsupportforum.com & DonaldG

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Old 11-22-2008, 12:40 PM   #2
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