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It's Backup Time!

Okay, so you're ready to do the installation. Need I say it? If you're upgrading from a previous version, Setup is supposed to let you back out and restore your system to its previous state if you panic in the middle. I've actually backed out of Setup a few times successfully, but that doesn't mean it will always work. Setup does lots of stuff to your operating system and hard disk files, and particularly if it bombs halfway through the process, things could get sticky. So ask yourself, “Do I have important data on my computer?” If so, back it up before you start your installation. Can you afford the downtime incurred should you need to reinstall your applications and operating system? If not, back them up, too.

Windows XP does bring a new feature to the table when you are upgrading from Windows 9x/SE/Me. This new feature is the ability to uninstall Windows XP and return to the previous OS. During the initial stages of the upgrade installation, a complete backup of the existing 9x OS is created (about 300MB of stuff). This backup is performed automatically to protect users. There are advanced command-line startup options that can be used to disable this activity, but if you are smart enough to figure out how to do that, you are smart enough to make your own backup. Plus, this backup feature not only allows you to roll back but it protects you during installation. If the upgrade install fails, the system will return to the previous OS automatically. After about 60 days or so, you will be prompted whether to retain or delete this backup archive of the previous OS. This backup procedure consumes about 300MB of space, so if your destination partition does not have around 1GB of free space the Setup routine will terminate before even getting started. This backup protection is only used for Windows 9x/SE/Me; it is not available for upgrades from Windows NT or Windows 2000.


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