I wanted to back up all the information on my computer and when you choose that option, Backup will also create a system recovery disk on floppy disk in case Windows has a total system failure. The problem is it will only make this disk on floppy, offering no other media. When it didn't detect a floppy drive, it simply said it could not make the disk.
I requested operating system CD(s) from Dell. My question is: is having the OS CD the same as having the system recovery disk?
What operating system and what "backup" program are you using? Also where are you backing up to? a CD, an external hard drive?
The Dell OS and drivers and utilities discs will allow you to reinstall but they will not recover user data or other installed programs. You will still need to backup your user data. Applications Programs need to be "installed" using the programs installation setup, they can't be "copied" from a backup to the PC and run.
The "backup" program in XP is not really very good and does not back up everything. Your best option for a complete backup is to use a "ghost" type program such as Acronis True Image Home and backup the entire hard drive to a separate hard drive (either internal or an externally connected drive). With a backup such as this, if the hard drive fails or becomes corrupted and needs reformatted and installed you can recover back to the date of the backup in about an hour or so. This is really the easiest method, but it does require periodic backups - not one backup and then forget about it.
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Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition Version 2002 Service Pack 3
This, like Professional, comes with Backup [Utility] found in All Programs > Accessories > System Tools. This is the program I used. Under What to Back Up, I used the option "All information on this computer: Includes all data on this computer, and creates a system recovery disk that can be used to restore Windows in the case of a major failure."
The backup file was saved to an external enclosure, something around 15 GB if I remember correctly. Basically, it was everything you would find in C:
I only intend to use this if I am unable to use Dell PC Restore or Windows System Restore if and when the computer fails.
Good luck, as the Windows XP: backup program won't do what you really want it to do or what you think it's doing. You will need to install Windows XP before you can recover whatever you have backed up with the Windows XP backup program. That is the reason people use 3rd party backup programs such as the Acronis True Image.
I was planning to use the Reinstallation DVD Dell gave me for my Windows XP, then using Backup to restore after Windows is up.
Since you can only "restore" user data, not programs, and you are going to reinstall using the Windows install disc then there is no need to even use any program to "backup". Just create a "data" disc (CD or DVD) and just copy your user data, such as My Documents folder, pictures, music, etc, to the disc(s). Any programs will have to be reinstalled, after you reinstall Windows, using the programs installation procedure.
If you want to backup everything and not have to "reinstall" anything then a program such as Acronis True Image and a second hard drive is what you need.