Windows 95 and Windows 98 Backup Steps

Using Buslink Drive

The links below are to the previous backup methods I've used through the years. It is offered to contrast the methods and how technology has changed. Backup is the single most important thing a computer owner MUST do. A close second is Virus scanning. Remeber, if a virus kills your system, a good backup scheme is the only way to recover your system after removing the virus.

Using Rewiteable CDROMs

Recommended Alternative

Restoring Files

Adding Files to *.SET List


Serious Error During Backup

Using Buslink Drive

The latest and greatest posted 12/29/2001.
After my backup process became so long in time (12 CDRW's and eight hours), I started looking for something faster and better. I found BUSLINK had what was needed. A self contained portable disk drive that comes in sizes up to 120GB! They may be used as regular disk drives or for backup storage. They come in USB and Firewire, MAC and PC compatible models and are reasonably priced.
Although it comes with its own software, I use the Windows 98 backup software. I have a *.SET for each of my four drives (to keep the total in one backup under the 4+GB maximum file size of the MS files). I created two full backup directories on the drive that I alternately use about every 10 weeks. I also have an incremental backup directory that I do a twice weekly incremental back up to.
One warning:
I ordered the Buslink on line. It arrived in a few days. I started the back up and it failed. It turned out that the unit was defective. I got an exchange from the on line store. This one worked, but the power light was not working. Without this light it was impossible to tell if the unit was on or off. Ideally it should be off when not backing up. Rather then dealing with the mail order company, I contacted Buslink. After some negotiating, they agreed to accepting an on line order from me for a new unit and immediately authorized a return of the defective unit. This worked out well. I've been using this as my back up method since the early summer. It works well.

Rewritable CDROMs

Forget all of the other backup systems. For the newer versions of Win95 and Win 98, the way to got is Rewritable CD ROMs. I recently purchased an HP CD Writer for use as a back up method. While it wasn't wasn't completely painless, I am very happy with the results.

The saga began when my system caught a virus that was not stopped by McAfee. It killed my secondary drive. I replaced it and started to restore from my tape backup that less than a week old. About 50 MB were not recoverable from the tape. I had in the past tested the restore of files, but not on that set. I was able to reconstruct some of the files, but most were lost. Fortunately most were not vital.

I began to look at alternate backup methods and rewriteable CDROMs seemed the way to go. I purchased an HP Cd Writer and installed it. It didn't work. My system booted until the CD Writer driver loaded and the system hung. If I disconnected the unit, the system booted normally. Since my machine was a 3 year old Pentium 150 MH, I thought it was time to upgrade. Since I already had a new hard drive (10 GB) and the monitor and other components were OK, I only needed a new mother board, chip set and memory. I purchased a P II 350 MH set and connected all of the components. The only additional thing I needed was a modem, because the new motherboard didn't have enough slots for my old cards. The modem was the least evpensive of the Sound, Video, and SCSI cards.

After loading everything I booted the new mahcine and IT FAILED IN THE SAME PLACE. A friend tried the HP CD Writer in his machine and it worked! The only difference between the two machines was his was Win 98, mine was still 95. I upgraded and all is well now.

A few points though:

If you are like most early users of Win95, you want to backup your system. The utility that comes with Win95, is a pale imitation of the backup that came with Win3.1. The only thing they have in common is that the data for the list of files to be backed up is stored in a file type *.SET, but the formats are different!

After many false starts, and re-re-reading the poor documentation, here are the steps that you MUST follow to set up a regular full backup and periodic incrementals, to be followed by another full to complete the cycle.

This information assumes that you will be backing up selected data files, documents, spreadsheets, and graphics; NOT most software and programs (since you have the original disks). Win 95 backup is

                  v e r y    s   l   o   w

in building the file lists and actually doing backup. My full backup takes about 2:30 to backup about 40 MB out of a possible 500MB. If you want to backup your whole system, you'll probably have time to read War and Peace.

  1. Start backup in any way (START Menu, Desktop icon, or Run command.
  2. From the menu select Settings - Options - Backup. Select the Incremental Backup radio button from the type selections. Check any other options you need (the erase on diskette backup doesn't seem to work except on the first diskette of the set).
  3. Expand each of your disk drives to display the sub folders.
  4. Click the check box for each folder you want to back up ALL files
  5. Double click on the folder name to show the individual files and sub folders.
  6. Click the check box for any files, folders you want included in the backup this is very slow for individual files.
  7. Hidden files and folders are NEVER Shown. . View Special Notes
  8. 8. With some difficulty, you can select (Settings - File Filter) files by type to NOT display, so you can limit the files being displayed. You may have to do this a number of times to get all of the files you want to backup. Be sure to un-EXCLUDE those file types you may want to include from other folders.
  9. 9. When you have selected all of the files you need, click on the Next Step button.
  10. 10. Select a destination drive.
  11. 11. ** THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT ** If you want to save this Backup set DO IT NOW! Press File Save As... Give it a name as you would any other file. If you do not do this now, you will have to rebuild the file list!
  12. 12. Click the Start Backup button to begin backup. The program will ask for a fileset name, this is an internal backup log and NOT the *.SET file mentioned above.
  13. 13. Make yourself a sandwich, this could take a while.
  14. 14. When backup is completed, you should have a set of disks or tapes for ALL of the files (even though you selected incremental).
  15. 15. You may now exit Backup.

If, when finishing any backup process, you get a Serious Error message, read this link page.

I'd suggest you put a shortcut on you desktop for backup, since it takes so long to start, you don't want to waste time using the START menu.

An excellent short cut for your desktop is the Backup *.SET file you created. When you double click the icon, it gives you a warning, then runs the incremental backup (files that changed since last backup) and exits on its own. If you are using diskette backups, you'll have to feed the drive the disks.

When you are ready to run your next full back:

  1. Run the regular backup program
  2. Open your *.SET file
  3. Select Settings - Options
  4. Select Full from the backup type
  5. Click OK and start backup. DO NOT save this as a *.SET file
  6. All of your selected files will be backed up
  7. Exit Backup

Recommended Alternative Forget this use Rewriteable CDROMs

When I replaced my 486/33 system with a 150mhz P5, with 1.6 G HD and 16MB ram, I also bought a BACKPACK 800TD tape backup. After using it for 2 months, I highly recoommend this system. The provided cable plugs into your printer port, while the drive has a two ports. One is for the new cable and the other goes to your printer (I have an HP Desk Jet that works fine with this configuration).

The tapes used are type TR1 that can hold 800MB! While these are expensive ($28 each), the peace of mind is worth the cost.

I back up my whole system (400MB+) in about 2 hours (including verifcation) about every other week. I then append to the same tape daily files modified since the full backup. This takes about 20 minutes. After two weeks, I start a second tape with a full backup. I then alternate the tapes every other week.

The registery files may be backed up automatically with either the full or incremental back ups.

Adding Files to *.SET List

If you add a folder (directory) to your Drive (C:\) or add a sub-folder to a folder not in the backup list, you must open the backup *.SET file and add the folder(s) to the list if you want them backed up. Backup will insist on backing up EVERYTHING again.

Backup WILL backup files added to folders that are checked to backup all files and sub-folders and will do an incremental backup.


The most important hidden files are your REGISTERY files. Be sure to backup these, by running REGEDIT and export the file to floppy. You can also get a POWERTOY from Microsoft that can keep up to nine copies of your REGISTERY in your WINDOWS folder.

Other hidden files are displayed in the file list, so they amy be marked to be backed up.


Restoring files is a good news/bad news situation.

I hope Microsoft does better than this in the next release!


If, at the end of a backup, you get a LONG message that essentially say that there was a serious problem with Backup. DO NOT PANIC.

Calmly get your Win95 CD-ROM and follow these steps:

  1. Run Install Software from Control Panel
  2. Select the Windows Setup
  3. Find the entry for Disk Tools
  4. UnCheck the box
  5. Click the APPLY button - this will remove Backup from your system
  6. ReCheck the Disk Tools box
  7. Click the APPLY button - this will reinstall Backup to your system
  8. Try Backup again

The author is NOT responsible for the use or mis-use of this information. It provided as is for WIN95 users who have had problems with the backup provided with the system.

2006 by Joseph D. Korman