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Home / Tips and Tricks / Backup Your Windows PC: 2 Surefire Ways To Make Sure You Never Lose A File

Backup Your Windows PC: 2 Surefire Ways To Make Sure You Never Lose A File



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Make sure your files are always backed up. It doesn’t take much time.

Ian Knighton / CNET

It’s way too easy to do it Windows prompts you to back up your PC. I’ve done it many times. Most of my files are backed up to some form of cloud storage, be it OneDrive or iCloud Drive. However, those files are not all I have on a PC. There are settings, applications and other opportunities and targets that are not backed up.

If my PC stopped working now, I would still have to reset it all over again. I would of course have my files, but I would spend a lot of time installing apps and getting everything back as it was. Windows offers two different ways to back up your PC. One of those methods creates copies of the files you care about most so you can revert to an older copy of a file if you accidentally delete something or make a mistake, for example.

Below I will explain to you how to set up routine backups of your most important files and how to make a full copy of your system in its current state. You have one for both methods external hard drive or SSDThe unofficial rule for the amount of storage space a backup disk should have is 1.5-2 times the size of your computer’s storage. So if your Windows 10 ($ 150 at Amazon) laptop has 256 GB of storage, you would want backup drive with 512 GB of space. Not sure where to start when it comes to picking a ride? We just happen to have one list of our best recommendations

Windows 10 backup

Enabling the built-in backup tool in Windows 10 takes just a few clicks.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Back up your files every hour

Windows 10 has a built-in tool that backs up files and documents on your behalf every hour in the background, without your knowledge, while you continue to use your computer. To set it up, connect your external drive to the PC and then click on it Get started button and then the Gear settingsThen click on Update and security followed by Backup in the list of options on the left side of the window.

Select Add a disk and then select the external drive you just connected to your PC. If you want to stop there, you can. Windows will create a folder on that drive and automatically start backing up your files.

I recommend taking a few minutes to make sure Windows backs up the folders you care about and delete any folders you don’t care about. To do that, click on More options which is located just below the Automatically back up my files button.

There you will find a list of all the folders that Windows is monitoring and copying to your external drive. You can add or remove any of these folders, change how often you want Windows to back up your files, and even set how long you want to keep backups. I recommend getting the Keep my backups option to Until space is neededThat way, when your external drive is full, Windows will delete the oldest backups to make room for new backups. Otherwise, it would just stop backing up.

To restore files or folders from a backup, scroll to the bottom of the More options page and select Recover files from a current backup

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A system image may be the way to go if you don’t want to mess around with setting everything back up.

Ian Knighton / CNET

Make an exact copy of your Windows PC

The other option you have when it comes to backing up your PC is to create what is called a system image of your computer as it is now. The image contains any app, setting, file or folder; everything.

The benefit of using this method is that if your PC crashes and you need to reset everything, all you have to do is restore the system image and get back into action. The downside is that the image you take is from that specific moment in time, so if it’s been a while since you last took an image, you will lose all changed settings, newly installed apps, and files that you don’t save in a cloud service. or back up to another external drive.

You can create a system image once a month, or every few months on the same drive that you back up files to, as long as it has enough space.

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A system image represents a specific point in time for your PC.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott / CNET

Connect your external drive before creating the backup image. Then open it Control panel by clicking the start button and then typing control panel. With Control Panel open, go to System and security Backup and restore (Windows 7 ($ 26 at Amazon) Create a system image to the left of the window.

You will then be asked where you want to save the backup image; select your external drive from the On a hard drive drop. If your PC has a DVD-RW drive, you can use that along with blank DVDs to save the system image if you want. Click The next after selecting the backup location, followed by Start backup

It may take a while to create the image depending on how much data is stored on your system. Once you boot it up, you can still use your computer, or you can start it right before you go to bed and it’s done in the morning. After it is completed, you will be asked if you want to create a system repair disc. You can skip this option, especially if your desktop or laptop does not have a CD-ROM drive.

If you need to restore your system, you can use the image you just took or, if necessary, you can create a Windows 10 boot disk on a USB stick

To use your system image to restore your PC, open it Settings app and go to Update and security RecoveryIn the Advanced startup section, click on it Restart now button. Go to when your PC has restarted Solve problems Advanced options System image recovery and follow the instructions to restore your PC using the system image you created.

Now that your PC is completely backed up, take a few minutes to do so learn more about Windows 10 features that are better than Windows 7, secret Windows 10 features, and how to turn your old pc into cash


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