Backup and restore files in Windows 10

Many people do not take the time to back up their important files, even though they may have needed them later. There is no excuse for not making a backup. Protecting our data is something we can all be concerned about, especially when we’ve stored important photos, documents, or other sensitive files of any size on our computers.

Even if you take precautions to protect your computer from malicious software or other potential threats that could permanently destroy your data, there is still a chance that a hardware failure may occur. Recovering data without backup is not only inefficient but also time consuming. If at all possible…

Backing up files is a simple process that can help you prevent data loss. It involves making a copy of your important files and storing the copy in a safe place, which can be accessed when the original files are lost.

Windows 10 includes a number of tools for backing up and restoring your data. File history is the primary backup tool in Windows 10, which can fully back up and restore files from earlier versions.

Back up Windows 10 or restore an older version of Windows to Windows 10

Backup and Restore is a Windows 7 utility, but you can also use it to back up and restore your Windows 10 system. If you have a Windows 7 backup, you may also be able to restore it through this tool in Windows 10.

Go to start and click through Settings.

windows-10 backup settings

When searching, look for: backup, select Backup settings

create windows-10 backup settings

Now select the hyperlink with the text “Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” and follow the instructions.

If Windows Backup is not yet configured, you can configure it here. Proceed as follows. Click Setup Backup.


Select where you want to save the backup file. Windows recommends that you save your backup to an external hard disk. Make sure your external hard drive is connected (or inserted), select it as the backup destination, click “Next”, and follow the instructions.


Back up file history

File history is a standard built-in tool in Windows 10.

File history does not completely back up your entire PC, but you can; consider using it to back up your personal files. The file backup also retains previous versions that you can easily restore later.

By default, folders are backed up in your users’ folders such as documents, downloads, music, images, videos, and the desktop. You can also add other folders to your PC that you want to back up. To add files and folders to file history, go to Backup settings, via search and then “backup”.

Click Create File History Backups by clicking “Add a drive”.

add windows-10-backup-station -windows-10-backup-drive-add

Go back to the backup menu as above in the example and click on “More options”. Then go left to “See advanced settings”, select your drive and click “Enable”. Now open the backup setup again, here you will find the folders that are backed up to the external drive. If you want to add folders then click on “Add a folder”.

add windows-10-backup-create-files-and-folders

To restore files, scroll down and select “Restore files from the current backup”.

restore windows 10 files

Make Windows 10 backups with system copies

This feature is also an original Windows 7 tool, which is still available in Windows 10. The tool creates an image file (iso format) of your entire system, including installed programs (apps), system files, personal files, etc. This is useful if the hard disk fails and you want to restore the previous version of Windows without reinstalling the operating system. The process takes time, but it can be useful.

Go back to the backup window in windows 10. Search for backup and select “backup settings”. Then click on “Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7)”.

windows-10 system backup

Go to “Make a system copy”.

make windows-10 system copy

Select the location to save the full Windows 10 backup, recommended is an external hard drive or USB stick.


Back up using Windows 10 OneDrive

This is not a complete backup, but it is worth considering as an option to recover your files. Files you store on OneDrive are stored in your Cloud One drive account, all you have to do is log in to your OneDrive account and select the saved files you want to access.

To get started with OneDrive, start OneDrive in Windows 10 and follow the instructions, type in “one drive” and find Windows 10 OneDrive.

Enable system recovery and recover files from Windows 10 with system recovery

The System Restore tool creates restore points. A restore point is a collection of important system files stored by System Restore on a specific date and time. System Restore returns everything to a saved restore point, but a restore point must be created first.

If there is no restore point on your computer, System Restore has nothing to restore. To use this tool, you must create recovery points.

To create a restore point, type “restore point” in the search, and click on the result: “Create a restore point”.

create windows-10 restore point

Click on “Create”, see image below.

restore point-making-windows-10

Give the backup a name, and then click OK. A Windows 10 restore point is now being created.

Create Windows 10 recovery drive

You can also choose to create a Windows 10 recovery drive. Allows you to restore backups if Windows 10 no longer starts due to a variety of issues.

So should you ever run into problems with Windows 10 not restarting, a repair drive will cause Windows 10 to be repaired and restarted.
To create a recovery drive, type “recovery drive” in the search and click on the result: “Recovery drive”.

Now insert a USB drive or external HD into your computer’s USB port. Make sure that Windows also recognizes this USB / drive recovery.

create windows-10 recovery drive

Click next and follow instructions, make sure your USB or External Hard Disk is connected to your computer.

If Windows 10 does not find an external drive, you can not create a Windows 10 recovery drive.

Restore Windows backup with Windows 10 Advanced boot options

If Windows cannot start normally, you will see that advanced startup options are displayed. From here, you can restore Windows from the system copy you created earlier and choose a few other options.

Search for “Advanced Startup Options”, and select “Change Advanced Startup Options”.


From the next screen, select “Reboot Now” next to “Advanced Boot Options.”


The Advanced Options window appears as follows:


Then click on “Troubleshoot” and select “Advanced Options”.


A window will now appear with a number of options to repair your PC. The option you have to choose here depends entirely on the startup or other issues you are experiencing with Windows 1o.

You have the choice; system recovery, recovery with installation copy, boot recovery, command prompt (allows you to execute commands against Windows), change boot settings, or revert to the previous version (if system recovery was already enabled).


Repair Windows by resetting Windows to factory settings

You can also restore Windows 10 by resetting Windows to factory settings. Here you can choose whether you want to keep or delete your personal files. This option is especially useful if you have a contaminated Windows 10 system, or want to perform a clean installation with data retention.

Go to search in the windows language bar and search for “Reset PC”, then select “Reset this PC” from the menu.


The screen below appears, now click on “Get started”.


You now have the choice of whether or not to keep files. Select “Keep My Files” to keep your Personal Files, your Apps and Settings lost from Windows. To delete everything such as Apps, Personal Files, and Settings, select “Delete All”. Your PC will now restart.


We all deal with data loss. This can be due to malware on your computer that is hijacking your files, but also due to a hardware failure that prevents your computer from starting up.

If you have a backup, it’s nice to be able to restore your files to another device.

So always make backups, and if you make a mistake, you can follow these instructions to restore your files in Windows 10.