May I join slimedave *clap* *clap* *clap* (though I do agree with KenEwald that a cold backup/recovery is easier to understand if you are just starting out - not that it's better in any other way.)
(At the risk of souding like a stuck record . . .) Informix_guy, consider copying your archive logs "elswhere" as they are created. In the case of total desctruction of the server, this will determine what point you can recover to. (Look at LOG_ARCHIVE_DEST_n in init.ora).