PC upgrade: Backing up your PC
Before you upgrade, it is safest to backup ALL essential data. There are free software tools like Macrium that allow you to make an image of your Windows partition, and create a bootable CD-ROM.
Cliff Saran provides a step-by-step guide to updating an ancient Pentium 4 3.2 GHz XP-based machine with 2 GBytes of memory to an AMD Phenom Quad Core PC with 4 Gbytes of memory running Windows Vista.
The hardware is built around a Gigabyte GA-MA790FX-DS5 motherboard.
NB: PC components can easily be damaged by static electricity - I recommend you use an anti-static wristband.