Is your whole life on your computer? So, what are you waiting for the security of all your data? Backup copies, if done regularly, can allow you to keep your photos, documents and programs kept safe.
Thus, a failure of hard disk or attack of a heavy virus will not catch you from the guard and it will be very easy to recover all your files and configuration values before the computer disaster.
In this article, you will learn 5 ways to make backup copies in Windows 10, both from the files and system saved on your PC.
In particular, we will review several ways to make backups using the tools introduced by Windows 10 – and to a large extent Windows 7 and 8, as well as other external services such as cloud platforms or third-party programs
The tricks we show you below can also be useful if you are thinking of restoring the factory settings of your computer, because you will need to save your files separately.
A backup copy – also known as backup copy, backup copy or backup , in English – is the process of saving the original data of a device to be able to recover them again in case of loss.
There are two main types of backups:
- Backup of files
- System backup
You should bet on one or the other depending on what you want to protect. That is, you must opt for the first if you are interested in saving your personal documents to be able to recover them later. The second type will allow you to copy the entire system of your computer.
Backup of files
Backups of files allow you to make a copy of the documents stored on your PC, either to individually or multiple files at one time, to keep them on another device and to retrieve them whenever you want.
This type of copy can be created for any type of file you have on your computer: from the important office documents of a student or business person to infinite personal galleries of photos, music and videos.
Because, unfortunately, when we get a new PC or laptop, data loss from the computer is more common, getting external hard drives is more appropriate.
In this way, you can create a backup from minute one and keep your files safe at all times. In addition, you can find external storage devices at a great price, such as this Toshiba hard drive for € 50.
Backing up the system allows you to make a copy of the entire Windows operating system that you currently have on your computer, which is in all programs, files and configuration settings.
This is probably a much more painstaking process compared to the previous type of copy, but it is definitely very useful if you do not want to lose everything when you need to fix a computer that does not work properly or that is straight Does not turn on.
Making a backup of the system can take a lot of time and can take up a lot of space – we are talking about hundreds of GBs – which can be annoying if you want to make one often.
Now, there are some programs that only copy the ones that you recently changed, added or updated in relation to the previous copy, and which helps you save time and space.
All versions of the Windows operating system have many built-in tools that allow you to have a simple backup of your files and some more complex backups of the system.
In this section, you will learn how to back up and restore files with the Windows tool ‘File History’, as well as the process of coping your documents with platforms in the cloud.
There are also third-party applications – free or paid – to make backup copies. Apart from this, many external hard drives also include their own program, so you will not need to buy another.
Make a backup of files with ‘File history’
The tool ‘File history’ offers you the possibility to program and make copies of personal data of your computer or laptop on a regular basis, to save them in an external device.
It also allows you to save this backup directly to your PC’s hard drive, but this can be risky, since you will lose it if you experience a hard drive failure or your computer crashes.
At PCWorld Spain, we recommend you always have an external copy of your most important documents. Some people even choose to have two or three and keep at least one of them in another physical place just in case.
In this sense, there are those who are governed by the following mantra: “If you only make a backup copy of your files, then they are not at all sure”. So, do not be invaded by laziness and also take advantage of online storage services .
To create a backup copy of files with ‘File History’ in Windows 10, follow the step-by-step instructions below.
1 . Go to the ‘ Settings ‘ panel and select ‘ Update and security ‘.
2 . Access the section ‘ Backup ‘ in the menu on the left, locate the section ‘ Backup with File History ‘ and click on ‘ Add a unit ‘
3 . When you click, you will get a menu with the list of external hard drives connected to your PC. Simply select the one you want to use for the backup.
In this way, you will have activated the automatic backup of your files. You can deactivate it whenever you want, although as a precaution we recommend leaving it on so that copies are made on a regular basis.
4 . Then click on ‘ More options ‘, followed by ‘ Make a backup now ‘ if you want to do it already with the default values.
Alternatively, in this same screen you can configure how regularly to make a copy (from every 10 minutes to once a day) and how long to save it (from one month to forever), as well as choose which files and folders to copy.
How to recover files from a backup?
Backup copies would not do much good if you did not know how to restore them, right? Here’s how to recover files from a backup.
1 . Open the program ‘ Restore files with file history ‘ – you can search with the search tool that you will find next to the Start menu. You will see all the folders that you have copied to your external device.
Locate the buttons ‘ Previous ‘ and ‘ Next ‘ – similar to those of a music player – that you will find at the bottom of the program. Use them to navigate to the backup you want to restore.
This can be very useful if you want to recover a file that you saved in your day but that you deleted later, or if you want to consult a previous version of a document that you have recently updated.
Make a backup of files with cloud storage platforms
Another of the simplest and most practical ways to create backup copies of your files is using the dozens of services available on the Internet that allow you to store documents in the cloud .
There are many platforms that offer this possibility and the best thing of all is that most are free or can be contracted at a very affordable monthly cost. We recommend betting on them even if you already use other methods to make copies.
Surely the most popular cloud service is Dropbox, although the 2 GB offered may be insufficient. On the other hand, for Windows users it is very practical to choose OneDrive, since it is integrated in Windows 10 devices.
Other platforms with this online service are Google Drive, Mega, pCloud, Tresorit or iCloud. Most of them offer a storage space of between 5 and 10 GB, although Mega offers 50 GB.
It should be remembered that these cloud services have been designed as platforms for file synchronization, and not for simple backups. That means that one of its main objectives is to be able to share the files with others.
When you subscribe to one of the platforms, you can create a folder on your computer. Thus, you can easily access the files you have stored there. Once connected to the Internet, the changes you make will be immediately accessible from other PCs.
This can be very useful when you want to share the files with others, but it can also be risky, because if you delete a document from a computer, it will also be removed from any other document that is synchronized.
It is true that, increasingly, these online services offer an option to recover deleted documents, as well as another to make several backup copies. Make sure you have these options set.
Despite the great advantages of saving documents in the cloud, in PCWorld Spain we recommend always having a copy in an external device and that the online copy is only as a complement.
On the other hand, if you are not interested in file synchronization, you can bet on other online platforms specialized in backups, such as SugarSync .
Making backup copies of files is a relatively simple process, especially if we compare it with the steps to follow to create a backup of the system. That’s because for the latter it’s not enough to use an external device or the cloud.
Any operating system such as Windows is made up of hundreds of interconnected programs that act at different levels and perform specific tasks.
Therefore, we are in front of a much more complex network that makes up your personal folders with your favorite songs or the photos of your last trip abroad. It is not enough to use the “copy” and “paste” trick.
But luckily, Windows 10 has several tools that make this a much easier process than it may seem. There are also third party applications that will make it much easier for us.
Make a backup of the system by creating a restore point
The ‘System Protection’ tool is often used to fix problems with Windows or other programs quickly, but it is good to know that it also allows you to create a restore point to back up the system.
On the other hand, it is good to know that Windows creates restore points automatically whenever you install a new program, a new driver or a new system update on your computer.
1 . Open the ‘System Protection ‘ tool . To do so, look for ‘ Create a restoration point ‘ with the magnifying glass that you will find next to the Start menu.
2 . To create a restore point, you must first enable the protection of your local disk, which by default is disabled. So, select the disk C :, click on ‘ Configure ‘, followed by ‘ Activate system protection ‘ and ‘ Accept ‘.
3 . Then click on ‘ Create ‘ to create your first restore point, that is, a kind of capture of the status of your Windows – system, configuration and applications, but not files – at a specific date and time.
You must give it a name and click on ‘ Create ‘ again.
It’s that simple to create a backup of the system. In this way, when you see that your computer is not working at all-or even that one of the programs you have installed gives you problems-you can always return to a previous system state.
Imagine, for example, that you try to use your media player, but it always gives you an error. Simply recover the restore point that was created after installing it and you will see that the problem is solved.
To recover a restoration point, you must follow the simple steps that we indicate below:
1 . In ‘ Protection of the system ‘, click on ‘ System Restore … ‘.
2 . The restoration program will open. Click on ‘ Next ‘ to access the restoration points saved on your computer, select the one you want to restore and click again on ‘ Next ‘.
3 . Finally, you must confirm that the selected restore point is really the one you want to restore. Click on ‘ Finish ‘.
4 . After the restoration, your computer will automatically restart to apply the changes, so it is advisable to close all the programs and save the changes of the documents that we have open.
Make a backup of the system by creating a system image
In the specific case of Windows 10, the main option to create a backup of the system is a tool called ‘System Image’. Here we explain in detail how to use it, a process that can be confusing for some.
1 . Open the ‘ Control Panel ‘ of your PC and, in the ‘ System and security ‘ section, select ‘ Backup and restore copies (Windows 7) ‘.
2 . In the menu on the left, click on the option ‘ Create a system image ‘ to duplicate exactly the current state of your computer’s hard drive, that is, the configuration of Windows 10 and all the programs and files stored on your PC.
3 . Then you can choose where to save the backup, which by default will be stored on your external hard drive. So, if you have any problem with your PC, you can easily recover this copy of the system.
4 . Finally, click on ‘ Next ‘ and confirm the configuration of the backup by clicking on ‘ Start backup ‘.
Recovery ‘of the section’ Update and security ‘of your’ Configuration ‘.
Now, keep in mind that if you recover this copy created some time ago, the changes you have made in other documents will be lost. That’s because this option does not allow you to select specific files, but copies the entire system.
In this regard, we recommend continuing to use the ‘File History’ tool regularly to back up your most important documents. The ‘System Image’ tool is the last resort in an emergency.
Make a backup of the system using external programs
Precisely for the inconveniences that we can find when using the tools of backups integrated in Windows, there are those who prefer to trust also in third party applications.
There are many free programs available on the Internet. The most popular are EaseUS Todo Backup Free and Backup And Recovery Free of Paragon, both of high quality but that can be confusing for inexperienced users.
In addition, although its name includes the word ‘Free’ – ‘Free’ in English -, it is good to know that to have access to all the benefits, some money will have to be disbursed. In fact, the program will often urge you to purchase the paid version.
As for other options, Acronis True Image and AOMEI Backupper stand out. Of both, although the first has received rave reviews for years, the second application is cheaper and easier to use for beginners.