Secure and Free Online Backup Procedure

Using BitLocker in Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate editions to encrypt your data and then uploading it to the cloud (such as, Windows Live SkyDrive, Dropbox, etc.) can provide you with a secure online backup solution at no costs. The only caveat is that you need to perform some manual tasks before uploading the encrypted data to cloud storage. If you simply upload encrypted data from an active drive protected with BitLocker to cloud storage, it will be stored in the cloud in unencrypted form, which means it could be read by whoever has administrative access to the cloud where data is stored. In order to retain encryption of your uploaded data, the encrypted drive has to be dismounted and uploaded as a raw file. You could achieve this by creating a virtual hard drive, copy your sensitive files, encrypt it using BitLocker, and upload the vhd file to the cloud as described below:

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Exporting Firewall settings in Windows 7

It is a good practice to keep a copy of your Windows Firewall settings together with other system-related documentation. Documentation of your system configuration may become handy during a disaster recovery exercise or when changes to your system cause undesirable results and you need to revert back to the previous settings! In order to document your Windows Firewall settings perform the following steps:

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Windows Easy Transfer

Windows Easy Transfer is a utility that comes with Windows 7 that you can use to transfer user profile data such as documents, music, pictures, email and other data from one computer to another. You may find this tool very handy when you are migrating to a different computer and need to move your data to the destination computer. In the process of moving your files you can use an external hard disk or USB flash drive. Other transfer mediums exist such as, network shares and special USB cables.

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Exporting and importing Windows 7 Registry

It is vital to backup the system configuration of your Windows 7 computer before performing any configuration changes that might break your system. The configuration is stored centrally in a hierarchical database called the registry. You can use the Registry Editor to perform a backup or restore of the registry file.

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Group Policy settings for Previous Versions

Windows 7 gives you the capability to restore earlier versions of files in case these are accidentally deleted or modified. For more information how to set Previous Versions and Shadow Copies go here.  In the enterprise environment you can configure Previous Versions with six Group Policy settings as described below:

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Manage Windows 7 Backup options using Group Policy

In the enterprise environment, administrators may delegate end users with the responsibility of performing their own data backups. Windows 7 like previous versions of Windows has in-built data backup functionality. Although, this is not a common scenario and is not probably recommended by many IT professionals, you may come across particular situations where the most practical solution is to allow end users manage their own data backups. Personally, I have experienced a similar situation where a team of software developers wanted to backup temporary research data that was not so critical to the organization and the storage requirements to store this data on a network share were not justified. Using Group Policies, an administrator can control end users backup options and manage better the organization’s backup strategy.

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System Repair Disc

You need a system repair disc so that you have access to system recovery options when problems occur. The repair disc contains system recovery tools that help you fix Windows. To create a system repair disc follow these steps:

  1. From the Control Panel, click Backup your computer under System and Security
  2. From the Backup and Restore windows click Create a system repair disc
    Otherwise, type system repair disc in the Search text box of the Start menu and click the Create a System Repair Disc link
  3. Insert a blank writable CD/DVD in the CD/DVD-ROM drive and click Create Disc from the Create a system repair disc dialog box
    You may be prompted to insert a Windows installation disc, which means that the files needed to create the system repair disc cannot be found on your computer. Insert a Windows 7 installation disc.

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Restoring User Profiles

Documents, library, pictures, videos, favourites, desktop icons, applications settings etc. of a computer user are known as the User Profile. When you let Windows to choose the files and folders during a backup procedure, then your profile is definetely included in the backup job. User profiles are normally big in size and can increase up to GigaBytes of data!

User Profile restore steps:

  1. Open the Backup and Restore console -> Start/Search – type Backup and click Backup and Restore
  2. From the Backup and Restore window click the Restore My Files button
  3. From the Restore Files window click Browse For Folders button 
  4. Select your username and click the Add folder button – you can add other user profiles, folders or files as well Continue reading