Backing Up Your Files

by Barry Dysert
(last updated April 30, 2018)

2

You've probably heard stories of people losing files because of accidental deletion, a computer virus, or a system crash. Inevitably, the first advice offered to the victim is to restore the lost files from a backup. Unfortunately, the story usually ends with the victim confessing to not having made any backups.

Performing regular system backups should be considered an essential system management task. That way, should you ever need to recover files, it's just a matter of restoring them from the backup. Backups can be done manually or automatically. (Configuring automatic backups is covered under another tip.) You can start the process by displaying the Control Panel. Your next step depends on the version of Windows you are using:

  • On Windows 7 and 8 click the Back Up Your Computer link, under the System and Security heading. Windows displays the Backup and Restore dialog box.
  • On Windows 10 click the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) link, under the System and Security heading. Windows displays the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) dialog box. (I know that having "Windows 7" in the link and in the dialog box name is a bit confusing, but sure enough—Windows 10 includes it there.) (See Figure 1.)
  • Figure 1. The Backup and Restore (Windows 7) dialog box.

You first need to indicate where you want your backup to reside. Click the Change Settings link near the middle of the dialog box. The Backup wizard starts, which allows you to select the location that should hold your backup and to designate what files get backed up. After these selections have been made, click the wizard's Save Settings and Run Backup option to end the wizard and start the backup.

Remember that it is a good idea to specify a location for your backups that is different from the drive (or drives) you are backing up. With the low-cost availability of external hard drives these days, you may even want to invest in an external drive for backups.

 This tip (12263) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Scanning Your System for Open Ports

For security reasons, you may want to scan your system for open ports. This tip explains a bit about ports and how to see ...

Discover More

Understanding Action Center

Action Center provides you with a quick overview of security and maintenance issues and allows you to drill down to the ...

Discover More

Setting Up Your Wi-Fi Enabled Computer As a Hotspot

If your computer is Wi-Fi enabled, you can easily set it up to be a hotspot. This tip shows you how.

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Moving Files or Folders

A common operation within Windows is to move files and folders from one location to another. Here are the two major ways ...

Discover More

Recovering a Deleted File

We sometimes delete files by accident, or we delete files that we later realize we shouldn't have. Fortunately, these ...

Discover More

Removing a File Type Program Association

Removing a file type program association is a task for third-party utilities. You can, however, change the association ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five minus 0?

2018-05-01 16:59:33

Barry

Sheryl,

To my knowledge this function is not in Windows 10. Personally, I use a different backup utility which is also free. It's called AOMEI Backupper (Standard). You may want to try that to see if it meets your needs.


2018-05-01 16:32:50

Sheryl

My Backup and Restore (Windows 7) window on my Windows 10 PC does not show the 'Check your backup results' function. Does it exist somewhere else, or must we with Windows 10 do without this valuable feature? I searched the Internet some time ago, but was not able to find a satisfactory answer. I did find a useless suggestion: Use 'Properties' to see the used space of File History (and what good is that?).


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.