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Enable and configure Windows Backup [11, 10, 8, 7] – The Crab Info

Back up personal files is crucial for every PC user. Who among us has never lost documents for a folder deleted by mistake or an accidentally deleted partition?

To avoid (re) living such a drama, the essential solution is to schedule an automatic backup personal files on an external medium (external hard drive, USB key, etc.).

In this article, I explain how create a one-time or recurring backup your personal files with the Windows Backup tool and how restore a backup to recover deleted or lost files.

Before you start, make sure you have external storage media to save the backups. If you don’t have one, I recommend the Western Digital USB 3.0 external hard drive (available in several capacities).

Windows Backup: what is it?

Windows includes a tool that allows you to schedule a copy of your personal files on an external medium (external hard drive, USB key, network hard drive, etc.) at regular times: this is the Windows backup or “Backup and restore”.

By using Windows Backup, your documents will be safe from possible accidents such as awkward file deletions or an irreversible crash of your system drive.

Windows Backup allows you to back up all the files in the libraries, files and discs that you will select.

An option is also offered to include a system image in the backup (to restore your computer to the same in case of failure).

How it works ?

Backups are created in sets called “Safeguard periods” which bundle a full backup and one or more incremental backups .

The purpose of this process is to optimize disk space: Windows Backup backs up all the selected folders only during the first execution (full backup), then backs up only the new or modified files since the last backup (incremental backup) during the subsequent backups.

Periodically, Windows creates a new full backup, which marks the start of a new backup period.

When you view your backups in Windows Backup, you are actually seeing the backup periods, labeled with a range of dates (e.g. from 01/06/2018 to 01/29/2018): the first date corresponds to the creation date of the full backup; the second on the creation date of the last incremental backup.

Compatible Windows Versions

Windows Backup is available on:

  • Windows Vista and Windows 7, under the name Backup and restore ;
  • Windows 8, under the name Windows 7 File Recovery ;
  • Windows 10, under the name Backup and restore (Windows 7).

Despite these different names, it is exactly the same tool.

Note that Windows Backup is NOT available on Windows 8.1, as Microsoft has removed it from this version of Windows after already deprecating it on Windows 8.

Windows 10: Back up and restore (Windows 7)

On Windows 10, Windows Backup is called “Backup and restore (Windows 7)”.

This name can be confusing because even though you can indeed use it to restore any backup created from Windows 7 to your Windows 10 PC, you can also use it to create backups from your Windows 10 PC and restore them in the same way.

Open Windows Backup

To access Windows Backup:

  • On any version of Windows: enter %windir%system32sdclt.exe in the Run command.
  • On Windows 7, go to Control Panel> System and Security> Backup and restore.
    backup-and-restore-windows-control-panel
  • On Windows 8, you have to go through Control Panel> System and Security> File history and click on the link at the bottom left Windows 7 File Recovery.
    windows7-file-recovery
  • On Windows 10, go to Settings > Update and security> Backup> Access the Windows 7 Backup and Restore Tool.

Configure Windows Backup

To back up your personal data with Windows Backup, follow these steps:

  1. Click on Configure backup.
    configure-windows-backup
  2. Backup save location: Windows lists all the locations that can store backups. Microsoft recommends choosing a location with at least 200 GB of disk space. In the screenshot below, for example, we can save the backups to a WD (F 🙂 external hard drive.

    Select your external storage medium then click on Next.

  3. Backup content: by default, Windows backs up all files in Libraries, Desktop and Windows default folders (AppData, Contacts, Desktop, Downloads, Favorites, Links, Saved Games and Searches) and includes an image. system (to restore your computer to the same in case of failure).
    You can also select precisely the folders you want to back up by selecting Let me choose.
  4. Backup frequency: By default, Windows creates a backup every Sunday at 7 p.m. To choose another time slot, click on Modify the schedule.
    Select the desired backup frequency. You also have the option of deactivating the automatic backup by unchecking the box Scheduled execution.
  5. Finish by clicking on Save settings and run backup.
    Windows will then start backing up the files and folders you have selected. This may take a long time depending on the amount of data to be backed up.
  6. Modify Windows Backup settings: you can modify everything you have just configured at any time (the location of the backups, the data to be backed up and the frequency of the backup) by clicking on Modify the parameters.

Congratulation ! You have configured an automatic backup of your personal files to external storage media with Windows Backup. 👍

Create a backup now

To start a backup right now without waiting for the date and time at which it starts automatically, click on the button Save now.

Restore an existing backup

To restore your personal files from an existing backup:

  1. Click on the button Restore files.
  2. Backup selection: by default, Windows selects the last backup performed. To restore your files from a previous backup, click Choose another date.
    Then choose the backup from which you want to restore your personal files.
  3. Select files and folders to restore: you have two ways to restore deleted or modified files / folders:
    • Either you search for the files / folders to restore from their name, by clicking on the button To research :
    • Either you browse your backup with File Explorer looking for files / folders to restore, by clicking on the button Files Where Files.
  4. Add the files / folders to restore then click Next.
  5. Choose thesite where your files / folders will be restored: either in their original locations, or in a folder that you have chosen.
  6. Finally, click on Restore to start restoring your files and folders!
  7. Check that your files have been restored by opening theFile Explorer.

Congratulation ! You have restored your deleted and / or lost files and folders with Windows Backup. 👍

Delete a backup

If you run out of space on the disk that hosts the backups, you can delete old backups. To do this, nothing simpler :

  1. Click on Manage space.
  2. Then on View backups.
  3. Select the backup you want to delete then click on To delete to free up disk space!

The final word

Launched with Windows Vista, the Windows backup is still incredibly effective. I invite you to use it and configure it as soon as possible to protect your data.

Thanks to Windows Backup, backing up personal files to external storage media is easy for anyone! This can you save the life in the event of a crash of the disk that contains your data. 😉

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