Back up Windows

Windows backup
Backups for Windows can create some confusion, especially on the latest versions of Windows where there are several tools integrated with different names, which can cause confusion in novice users with backups or with these advanced Windows tools.
The first aspect to keep in mind is that on Windows PCs it is not necessary to install external or commercial programs to immediately have a backup of the computer since the integrated tools behave very well and allow you to save both your personal files and the image system, which can be quickly restored in the event of viruses, freezes or freezes.
In this guide, we will see together the best backup tools in Windows 10 (and largely usable also on previous versions), so that we can proceed with the backup whatever the machine in our possession (company PC or home computer).READ ALSO: How to backup and restore your computer simple, fast and complete

Backups available in Windows

The backup tools available in Windows are numerous and fall into three main categories: simple backups, system recovery, and online backups via the cloud. To obtain maximum protection we will have to be able to use the tools of all three categories so that we can find ourselves ready in any situation.

System Restore

System Restore has always been there and is probably the first backup system you will ever know on Windows, whatever your PC skill level. Windows automatically creates backup copies of important system files so that if something goes wrong or there is some sudden freeze, we can go back to the previous configuration and fix any problems. This recovery system acts on the system files and on any drivers or programs installed but does not touch the personal files so that it can be used without the fear of losing files.
To activate the system restore press on the bottom left on Start, type Create a restore point and open the homonymous voice.
System restore

Make sure there is an entry on the system disk enabled; otherwise, activate it by pressing on Configure and selecting Enable system protection to activate recovery.
To immediately create a restore point, press the Create button and choose the name to be assigned to the restore; to restore the system immediately we can instead click on System Restore and choose one of the available restore points.
If the PC does not start or is locked, just restart it from locked 3 times or repeatedly press F8 at startup, so as to access the Windows recovery console and be able to choose to Restore the last working configuration.
For more information on this backup mode, please read our How to use system recovery in Windows 7, 8, and 10.

System image

On all versions of Windows, it is possible to create a system image that includes Windows files, installed programs and even personal files, so that you can restore them at any time in the event of a crash or breakage of the hard disk (which will make it useless other backup tools).
In order to create an image of the system, press Start on the bottom left, search for the Control panel, let’s go to the menu System and security, click on Backup and restore, and finally on Create system image.

Let’s make sure of connect an external USB drive at the PC (formatted in NTFS), we select the disk just connected in the field On a hard drive and, in the next window, we check that all the partitions on which Windows is installed are present (there may also be the secondary partitions necessary for system startup).
System image

Once ready, all we have to do is click on Start backup to start the creation of the system image, which will be saved on the external disk indicated in the configuration phase. This image can take up a lot of space, so let’s make sure that the disk is sufficiently large: an estimate of the space occupied can be found in the summary window (in our case the tool estimates a space occupied of 78 GB).

Recovery disk

Another method to be able to make effective Windows backups involves the use of the recovery disk, i.e. a copy of the operating system without modifications that we can use to make a PC running the same system work again (not necessarily the starting system ).
To create a Windows recovery disc on the fly, open the Start menu at the bottom left, search Create a recovery drive and we press on the homonymous voice.
Recovery disk

Now we connect any USB stick of at least 32 GB to the computer and, in the window that will appear, we put a check mark on the item Back up your system files to the recovery drive, press on Forward and in the next window we confirm the use of the USB stick as a recovery unit; to start the creation press on Forward.
Reset key

The stick will be formatted and will become a recovery drive for Windows. In case of problems just insert the USB stick and start the recovery console present on it to restore the correct functioning of Windows.
For more information we can also read our guide on how to create a system image in Windows as a rescue disk.

History of files

To make backups of all personal files on your PC, you should take advantage of File history, present on all versions of Windows.
To invoke this backup tool we open the Start menu at the bottom left and search
File history (on Windows 10 it will be called Backup settings).
File backup

We connect an external USB disk to the computer, we press on Add a unit and be sure to select the connected disk. From now on all personal folders will be automatically saved on the external disk; to add folders or to change the frequency of the backup just press Other options.
To learn more about the use of this backup and find out how to restore files, we recommend reading our article on How to backup files and restore in Windows 10.

Set up RAID 1

As an advanced backup tool, we can use two hard drives of the same size and put them in mirroring, that is, making them mirror one another.
RAID 1

The disks are seen as a single drive and the data is written to both simultaneously so that if one of the disks breaks, the data is on the other and the computer continues to work smoothly. If we want to find out how to set up two disks in RAID just read our guide How to combine multiple discs into one.

Backup settings on Microsoft account

In Windows 10 we can back up the Windows settings to your Microsoft account so that you can use them on any other PC with Windows 10.
To use this function you need to log in to the computer using a Microsoft account, by going to the Start menu, opening the app Settings and clicking on Account -> Sync your settings.
Microsoft account

Let’s make sure to tick all the items, so as to make a backup of our Windows settings. If we have not yet logged in, go to the menu Your info in the same window and log in with a Microsoft account.
More details in the guide on Back up installed programs and settings on Windows

Online backup with OneDrive

Using OneDrive we will be able to save our most important files in the cloud space offered by Microsoft so that we don’t have to use hard drives or sticks to save all the contents.
In order to activate the backup important files to OneDrive by pressing the right button on the OneDrive icon at the bottom right (if we have hidden or removed it, press on the Start menu and search for OneDrive) and selecting the menu Other -> Settings. In the new window that will open we press on the tab Backup and then on Manage your backup.
OneDrive files

Another window will open where we will be shown the most important folders of the PC, so you can choose whether to keep them all within the online backup on OneDrive.
OneDrive synchronization

As soon as you are ready, just press Start backup to sync folders Desktop, Documents is Images, that is the folders that OneDrive deems indispensable (where we save documents and images).
To discover all the advantages of OneDrive up close, we can also read our guide How many things Microsoft Onedrive needs and how it works, so as to have a clear picture of how online backups work and how we can access them from other computers as well.

Conclusions

As we have seen, Windows provides many effective and easy-to-use backup tools, which make the installation of a dedicated program completely superfluous.
If all these tools didn’t like or don’t fully respond to our backup requests, we can ignore them and use them free PC backup programs or, if we also want to save the drivers on the computer, read our guide on Device Driver backup and restore on Windows PC.
The important thing is to ensure the safety of important files, which are saved on an external or additional drive, so as not to lose them if the hard disk breaks or if you will be asked to reinstall Windows.

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