How to back up your Windows 10 PC

How to Back Up your Windows 10 PC

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With work and school becoming fully remote during this time, the need to have a fully functioning PC has become a necessity. The thought of your PCs failing or losing your precious data can be very detrimental to your ability to work from home or attend classes online. In Windows 10 there are quite a few options to ensuring that your operating system, data, and settings can quickly be restored. Getting back up and running again is easy if you know where to look. In this blog, you’ll learn a few of the ways you can help to protect your valuable Windows machine and put your mind at ease.

Protecting personal files

If you are just trying to protect your local personal files that you have two options:

  1. File History

File History will keep copies of your files on an external device such as a USB drive

How do we get there? Here is the path = Window Settings > Update & Security > Backup > Back up using File History

You can see the libraries (folder locations) that will be saved/backed up to the external device with the ability to include additional folders as well

 

  1. Microsoft OneDrive Path

You can protect your local personal files with a cloud-based solution such as @Ryan-Earls suggested with Microsoft OneDrive Path

How do we get there? Here is the path = Window Settings > Update & Security > Backup > Back up files to OneDrive

This requires you to create a Microsoft account and has that benefit of being available on any Windows 10 machine just by signing into your MS account

These two options will only allow for a backup of your *personal files* the system files and Windows will NOT be backed up.

If you want a complete bit-by-bit image backup of the entire drive (personal files, Windows, system files….etc) that can be applied to a replacement drive in the case of a drive failure. When you apply the image to the new drive you will have a working Windows 10 OS with your personal files restored. Two options here:

  1. The Windows Backup and Restore tool

 How do we get there? Here is the path = Window Settings > Update & Security > Backup > Looking for an older backup? > Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

This will take you to the classic Control Panel > Backup and Restore. On the left-hand side at the top there are two hyperlinks, one that allows you to “Create a system image” and “Create a system repair disc”.

This image will be the bit-by-bit backup file that can be used in combination with a “repair disc” to restore the entire OS (personal files included). So be sure to create BOTH

  1. Create a recovery drive

How do we get there?

Here is the path = Window Settings > Search for “Recovery Drive”

This will trigger the User Account Control so you will have to be an administrator on the computer

When you click “Yes” to the UAC you will be taken into the “Recovery Drive” Wizard. Follow the prompts and you will create a recovery drive that can be used to restore your Windows 10 OS to the moment in time that you created the drive. Be sure to include the “Back up system files to the recovery drive” check mark to restore your OS fully

Resetting your PC

 How do we get there?

Here is the path = Window Settings > Update & Security > Recovery> Reset this PC

Click the “Get started button” and you will have two options and they are self-explanatory

If you want to keep your personal files then choose the upper option. If you want to erase everything and start over with a clean installation of Windows choose the lower option

It is important to remember that if you wait until there is a failure, then there is only recovery. This can cost a pretty penny, so backup your data now and rest a little easier.

If you’d like more training on Windows 10, check out the Microsoft courses on ITProTV.