Most of us use laptops and desktops to store treasured memories, such as personal photos, videos, and audio files, and important work documents. We are all aware that we’re supposed to back up our data regularly, yet many of us still forget to do so or don’t bother at all. Think of backups as health insurance – you don’t realize its importance until something bad happens. Some even ask, “Do I need Windows 10 backups?” The thing is, accidents happen, and one moment you can have your device, the next moment it’s gone – either damaged by water or fire or shattered into pieces. When that happens, where do you start if you don’t have backups? You will lose not only your crucial data but also installation files, and this could mean looking for a new Windows installation.
Why Is Making Backups Important?
Backing up your system can save you a lot of trouble by helping you to recover your files if something goes wrong – and so many things could go wrong. Recently, many Windows users lost their precious files due to the arrival of buggy Windows updates. They accidentally deleted personal files and even caused issues with hardware drives. But that’s not all you should be afraid of. Here are other reasons that make backing up your files important:
- Malware attacks are on the rise. Hackers are always working on new ways to infect systems. They use ransomware and other types of malware. Malicious programs are usually installed discreetly to wreak havoc on innocent PC users.
- A thief could steal your computer along with sensitive data.
- An abrupt power outage could lead to the loss of data.
- A power surge can damage your computer’s hardware and the data contained therein.
- A fire in your home could damage everything, including your laptop.
- Hard disk drive or solid-state drive failure could also lead to the loss of data. These pieces of hardware will crash at some point, and when it happens, you will end up losing all the data stored on them.
Although the above-mentioned risks are well known to the Windows user community, many computer users don’t back up their data. Moreover, a common question asked by Windows 10 users is, “Should I make backups on Windows 10?’ Absolutely, yes. It’s not a matter of if something will go wrong but a matter of when – and how prepared you’ll be when it does.
How to Make a Full Backup of a Windows 10 PC
Most people think of making backups as too much work. On the contrary, it’s easier than you think, and there are several ways to do this on your PC using built-in Windows tools. Keep reading this post to find out how to back up Windows 10.
Backup and Restore
Previous versions of Windows came with the “Backup and Restore” tool. It creates a single backup of the latest version of files on your computer on a specified schedule. The tool is still available in Windows 10 but only as a legacy function. It creates an entire copy of your system, including the operating system, programs, settings, documents, and any other item contained on your drives.
A full backup allows you to get your system back to the state it was in on the day of the backup. By default, “Backup and Restore” creates a system image, which includes all the files on your desktop and in your user folders and libraries. However, you can specify the types of files that you want Windows to back up, and this includes choosing whether or not you want Windows to create a system image.
How to Set Up and Activate Backup and Restore
- Press the Windows logo key on your keyboard, type in “backup and restore” (without quotes), and click on “Backup settings”. Open the “Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” link under the “Looking for an older backup?” section. Alternatively, click “Start”, type in “Control Panel” (without quotes) and press “Enter”. Select “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” under “System and Security”.
- Select the “Set up backup” option under “Back up or restore your files”.
- Choose the removable drive that you want to store the backups on or select “Save on a network” to choose a network share.
- Click “Next”.
- On the next screen, choose whether you want Windows to select what to back up or you want to do it yourself. The first option backs up files stored on the desktop, in your libraries and in the default Windows folders. It also creates a system image to restore your PC in case anything goes wrong. However, if you don’t have enough space, choose the second option and deselect Libraries.
- If you select the “Let me choose” option, check all the items that you want to be backed up under “Data Files” and “Computer” and click “Next”.
- To customize the backup schedule, click on the “Change schedule” link and check the “Run backup on a schedule (recommended)” option. Make the necessary changes to determine the frequency of the backups and click “OK”.
- Click the “Save settings and run backup” button.
After the initial backup, all the backups will be carried out on the specified schedule.
How to Restore a Backup on Windows 10
If the worst happens and your entire system crashes, the Backup and Restore feature will help you to recover everything as of the date of the last backup. To restore files, follow these steps:
- Click the Windows logo on your taskbar and select “Settings” (the gear icon).
- Open Update & Security > Backup and click the “Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” link under the “Looking for an older backup?” section.
- Select the “Restore my files” button under the “Restore” section.
- Click on “Browse for files” and select the files that you want to restore.
- Select the “Add files” button to restore the files. If you want to restore a folder, click the “Browse for folders” button, select the folder that you want to restore, and click “Add folder”.
- Once you’re done, click “Next”.
- Choose whether to restore your files to the original location or a different location. If you select the second option, click the “Browse” button and choose your preferred restore location.
- Select the “Restore” button and click “Finish”.
Windows will restore the selected files and folders to the specified location.
The other backup utility is File History, which, by default, creates regular backups of all the folders in your user account, including video and audio files, documents, pictures, music, and so on. It also backs up folders in OneDrive. It’s a relatively new feature that was first introduced in Windows 8 and extended to Windows 10. Once turned on, File History continues to back up your files automatically until you turn it off. This useful tool monitors the desktop, downloads, pictures, documents, and music folders for any changes and automatically backs them up whenever they are modified.
Important tip: External drives are preferable since they are less susceptible to risks if your computer gets damaged or is hacked. To use File History, you’ll need an internal or external large-capacity secondary drive (HDD or SSD). You can also configure it to use a network location.
The feature is turned off by default, but it only takes a few seconds to turn it on. Unlike “Backup and Restore”, File History only saves user data, not system files. It’s capable of saving multiple versions of a file, unlike Backup and Restore, which retains only the latest version of a file.
Here’s how to set up and enable File History using the “Settings” app:
- First, connect your external drive to the PC whose data you want to back up.
- Press the Windows logo key on your keyboard and open “Settings” (the gear icon). Alternatively, press the Win + I shortcut to launch the “Settings” app.
- Open Update & Security > Backup, and click the “Add a drive” option under “Back up using File History”.
- Choose the external drive you want to save your files to. As soon as you select it, Windows will automatically turn on the “Automatically back up my files” option.
For more customizable options, click the “More options” link. Here, you can start the backup process, choose the frequency of backups, and select how long to keep your backups. You can also add or exclude a folder or back up your files to a different drive. You might want to change the default “Forever” setting under “Keep my defaults” to a different option, like “Until space is needed”. This way, File History saves you the hassle of manually cleaning up your drive to free up space for new backups.
How to Restore Files from File History
If you lost a file or it’s corrupted, you can easily restore it by following the steps below:
- Press the Windows logo key on your keyboard, type in “restore files” (without quotes), and select “Restore files with File History”.
- Look for the file that you want to recover and select it.
- Click “Restore” (the green button at the bottom of the page) and the file should be restored to its original location. To save the file to a different location, right-click “Restore” and select “Restore to”. Choose the location and click on the “Select folder” button.
While the above methods can help recover your damaged or lost files, it’s equally crucial that you enable System Restore to make it easier to revert recent changes made to your PC and thereby resolve related PC issues. Likewise, it’s important to create a system repair disc in case your Windows device becomes unbootable. Another great option worth considering is OneDrive, which is cloud-based storage developed by Microsoft. It allows you to store your data safely in the cloud so that you can retrieve it whenever you want so long as you’re connected to the internet.
To wrap things up, we encourage you to keep all your device drivers updated to avoid compatibility issues that could easily prevent your hardware from communicating with your computer. Put another way, outdated drivers prevent your devices, like printers and USB drives, from working properly. The thing is, device manufacturers release updates periodically to enhance the functionality of their devices and make their drivers compatible with new software and hardware components that you install. By keeping them updated, you ensure that everything works seamlessly and fast.
For this purpose, we recommend using Auslogics Driver Updater, a dedicated third-party tool that automatically updates all of the available device drivers on your computer. Apart from saving you the time and hassle of manually updating your drivers, Driver Updater installs only the latest official driver versions directly from the manufacturers’ websites. Most importantly, the program creates a backup of the current driver versions so that you can revert the changes if you don’t like the new versions.
Remember, a backup can save you the stress of losing data, and it only takes a few clicks to set it up.
If you have additional information on how to back up Windows 10, please feel free to comment below.