Creating a recovery disk for Windows XP is extremely important and is made possible by a built-in feature of Windows. The recovery disk will help you restore your computer to health, though it will not create a complete backup of your computer. Instead, it can be used to restore the settings you had on your computer at the time you created the disk.
Turn on your computer and click the "Start" button.
Click "All Programs".
Click "System Tools".
Select "Advanced Mode".
Select "Automated System Recovery".
Insert your disk into the appropriate drive.
Check that the "Backup Media" lists your floppy drive letter as the letter for the disk (It is usually A). If it is not pointing there, click "Browse" and select the floppy drive. (You can also use a CD in the same way. Just select the CD drive and insert a blank CD.)
Click "Next". Wait for the system to finish. Your recovery disk is now ready. You should label it and keep it in a safe place.
Microsoft recommends creating a new recovery disk periodically, as this will ensure that you have the most recent settings for your computer.
This will only save the settings for Windows. It will not save your personal files, nor will it save other programs or their settings. If you need to save all these things, you should perform a complete backup using the Backup feature of Windows XP.