Making backups on our computer is of vital importance, since at any time we can be affected by a malware, a malfunction or a sudden power failure that can irreparably damage our personal data.
With Windows 10 we can automatically save all our data and important files so that we can keep them safe in a “separate” place, from which we can collect our data should something happen. In addition to data backup, it is also important to create system images, so that Windows can be quickly restored in case of problems that are difficult to solve.
In this guide we will show you then how to activate automatic backup of Windows 10 to copy personal files and folders and how to activate system image backups for disaster recovery.
Activate Windows 10 Automatic Backup
Below you will find all the procedures to be performed to perform backups correctly on Windows 10. Once configured, we will no longer have to touch them, we will only have to periodically check whether the backups have been successful and whether the saved files are up to date.
Backups are never saved in the same machine on which they are run; we therefore do not use a disk partition or an additional internal disk as a backup destination, as they may be exposed to the same problems as the primary disk or operating system (infection, power failure, damage, etc.).
For automatic backups the best choice is to use a NAS or a network disk connected to the modem / router: in this way the files will be automatically saved in a network device separate from our computer, thus protected from direct damage (the vast majority of malware cannot act on systems other than Windows).
To find a good NAS (with disks already included) or an external hard drive to the USB port of the modem / router, we can read the guide on how to backup external disks and which NAS to buy.
Once the NAS or external hard drive is connected to the modem, we can turn on our computer and schedule automatic backups, as shown in the following chapters.
Automatic backups of personal files
To backup your personal files and folders, open the Start menu at the bottom left, select the app Settings, we press on the menu Update and security so let’s get to the menu Backup.
In the window we press on Add a unit and we await the end of the scan; we will show you the connected network devices a little while ago (the name of the NAS or of the network disk connected to the modem will appear). Let’s click on the drive to use and make sure the button below the entry Automatically back up files is active.
To configure the backup in detail, press the item Other options; from here we will be able to choose the folders to be included in the backup, the frequency of the automatic backup (basic every hour), the preservation of the backup (basically the files are always kept), the exclusion of some folders and the manual execution of the backup (by pressing the button Backup now).
The system will monitor all the folders entered in the backup settings and, in the case of updates to some files, will also offer various versions of the same file (via File history), as seen in our guide on how Recover previous versions of files in Windows 10.
In any case the backup folders will be accessible as normal folders, we will only have to enter the unit used as destination by File Explorer -> Network.
Full backups of the operating system
Do we want to make a complete system backup that also includes installed programs, drivers and Windows customizations? In this case we will have to use a different backup tool present in Windows 10.
We open the Start menu at the bottom left and look for the Control panel; opened the panel we press on the item Backup and restore (Windows 7), displayed below the section System and security.
In the new window that opens, we press on the item Configure backup, then we select the network unit to use to keep the backup using the key Save in a network. After configuring the destination, we press on Come on, we put the check mark on Manual selection, we press again on Come on to find ourselves on the screen where to configure the backup.
We remove the check mark from the items below Data files (if we have configured File History, is superfluous), while we make sure to leave the check mark on the item Local disk and on the item Include an image of the unit system.
At the end we press on Come on, we check the backup schedule with the voice Change planning (choosing a recurring hour and day to back up the system) then press su Save settings and perform backups.
With this active system we will be able to perform system backup in a completely automatic way, thus having an image of the system and the folders of the programs copied onto our network resource, so that they can be restored quickly with the same backup tool seen so far .
To learn more, we advise you to read our guide on how create a system image in Windows as a repair and repair disk.
Without installing any type of program, Windows 10 offers everything you need to be able to perform backups of your personal files and operating system automatically, we just need to make sure you select a network resource that is always accessible, such as a NAS or a USB network disk connected to the modem.
If instead of Windows integrated tools we want to use a complete backup program, we suggest you read our guide to Best Programs to make automatic and incremental free backups. If we wish to backup Windows programs, licenses and settings, we can also read our guide Backup of installed programs and settings on Windows.
Do we need to clone our disk to be able to use it on a new PC? In this case we recommend reading our in-depth on How to clone a hard disk to another disk with an exact copy.