How to back up your files in windows 10

INTRODUCTION

Losing data because of a computer problem or a hard disk crash is discouraging, to say the least. You might lose family photos, your music collection, or financial data. And, after you get the computer just the way that you want it, it can take a long time to reconfigure your personal settings on a new computer: desktop background, sounds, screensavers, and wireless network configurations to name just a few

However, a little prevention can go a long way to avoiding this ordeal. To help save you lots of time and aggravation, we recommend that you take the precaution of regularly backing up your data and settings.

This article describes how to manually back up your personal files and settings in Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. It also describes how to use the data tools in Windows to back up your files and settings.

More Information

Method 1: Manually back up your files and settings to removable media or to a network location

The simplest method is to manually back up your files and settings to removable media or a network location. You can specify the files and settings that you want to back up and how often you want to perform a backup.

Note Examples of removable media include external hard disks, DVDs, CDs, and USB memory cards. You can back up files to a different computer or a network device if your computer is connected to a network such as a wireless network.

To manually copy your files to a network location or to removable media on a computer that is running Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003, follow these steps:

Click Start, click Computer and then double-click the drive where you currently have Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003 installed.

Open the Users folder, and then open the user folder that contains the files that you want to back up.

Copy the necessary folders from the user folder to a network location or to removable media.

To back up data for all users, repeat steps 2–3.

To determine the size of all the files in the user folder, select all the folders, right-click those selected folders, and then click Properties.

The saved files can be copied to any computer. However, you must have corresponding applications installed on that computer to open those individual files.

Not all applications save their files to the user folder. You should make sure that you check other applications and the file system location where the applications save files by default, and then copy those files to the network location or to the removable media.

Method 2: Use the Easy Transfer feature to back up data to a different computer

The next easiest method is to use the Easy Transfer feature in Windows to transfer data to a different computer. This section discusses the following scenarios in which you can use the Easy Transfer feature to back up data to a different computer:

With Windows 10’s File History, you can automatically back up important files and documents to an external location and recover them in a pinch.

How to back up your files in windows 10

If a critical and irreplaceable file you were viewing the other day is lost or will no longer open, you would be in trouble if not for Windows 10’s File History feature. It can automatically save specific file folders to a backup device, thus allowing you to recover a previous version of a file should it go missing or become corrupted and unusable.

Here’s how to set up File History and save your important documents, photos, and files before something goes wrong.

Set Up Storage Device

First, make sure you have a viable drive connected to or accessible from your PC. This could be a simple flash drive, an external drive, or a network location on a Network Attached Storage drive. If your drive plugs into the computer, make sure to connect it before trying anything else. For a wireless network drive, it must be connected to power and properly mapped.

Set Up File History

In Windows 10, click the Start button, go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup, then click Add a drive under the Back up using File History section. Assuming you’ve connected a workable backup device, Windows displays a list of all such locales. Select the location you wish to use for your backups.

File History is now enabled, though it’s not yet backing up any files. Click More options to set up a few parameters. At the top of the File History window, click the Back up my files drop-down menu and choose how frequently you wish to back up your files, from every 10 minutes to Daily.

Then click the Keep my backups drop-down menu, and select how long you want to retain your backed up files—anything from Until space is needed to Forever.

Manage Folders

By default, File history will begin backing up a selection of default folders, including Desktop, Downloads, Music, and more. However, you can also remove some of these folders from the mix. Scroll down the Backup options window and review the list of default folders already included in the backup. Select any folder you don’t wish to back up and then click the Remove button to exclude it.

You can add your own custom folders by clicking the Add a folder button under the Back up these folders heading. From File Explorer, select any folders not included in the backup that you wish to add.

Backup Files

Once you’re all set, click the Back up now button at the top of the screen and Windows will start backing up these files included in your backup set. After your backup has finished, Windows displays the total size and the date and time of the backup.

Restore Files

Now, if that vitally important file goes missing or has become corrupted, you can use your File History backup to restore it. Go back to Settings > Update & Security > Backup and click More options again. Scroll down to the bottom of the File History window and click the Restore files from a current backup link.

Windows displays all the folders that have been backed up by File History. You may need to scroll through a few pages in order to find the file you seek. Double-click the folder you want, then double-click the file to view it. If it’s the file you need, click the green button with the white arrow at the bottom of the window to restore the file.

If the file still exists in its original location, Windows asks if you want to replace it, skip it, or compare both files. If the original file is gone, Windows automatically restores it to its previous location.

With Windows 10’s File History, you can automatically back up important files and documents to an external location and recover them in a pinch.

How to back up your files in windows 10

If a critical and irreplaceable file you were viewing the other day is lost or will no longer open, you would be in trouble if not for Windows 10’s File History feature. It can automatically save specific file folders to a backup device, thus allowing you to recover a previous version of a file should it go missing or become corrupted and unusable.

Here’s how to set up File History and save your important documents, photos, and files before something goes wrong.

Set Up Storage Device

First, make sure you have a viable drive connected to or accessible from your PC. This could be a simple flash drive, an external drive, or a network location on a Network Attached Storage drive. If your drive plugs into the computer, make sure to connect it before trying anything else. For a wireless network drive, it must be connected to power and properly mapped.

Set Up File History

In Windows 10, click the Start button, go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup, then click Add a drive under the Back up using File History section. Assuming you’ve connected a workable backup device, Windows displays a list of all such locales. Select the location you wish to use for your backups.

File History is now enabled, though it’s not yet backing up any files. Click More options to set up a few parameters. At the top of the File History window, click the Back up my files drop-down menu and choose how frequently you wish to back up your files, from every 10 minutes to Daily.

Then click the Keep my backups drop-down menu, and select how long you want to retain your backed up files—anything from Until space is needed to Forever.

Manage Folders

By default, File history will begin backing up a selection of default folders, including Desktop, Downloads, Music, and more. However, you can also remove some of these folders from the mix. Scroll down the Backup options window and review the list of default folders already included in the backup. Select any folder you don’t wish to back up and then click the Remove button to exclude it.

You can add your own custom folders by clicking the Add a folder button under the Back up these folders heading. From File Explorer, select any folders not included in the backup that you wish to add.

Backup Files

Once you’re all set, click the Back up now button at the top of the screen and Windows will start backing up these files included in your backup set. After your backup has finished, Windows displays the total size and the date and time of the backup.

Restore Files

Now, if that vitally important file goes missing or has become corrupted, you can use your File History backup to restore it. Go back to Settings > Update & Security > Backup and click More options again. Scroll down to the bottom of the File History window and click the Restore files from a current backup link.

Windows displays all the folders that have been backed up by File History. You may need to scroll through a few pages in order to find the file you seek. Double-click the folder you want, then double-click the file to view it. If it’s the file you need, click the green button with the white arrow at the bottom of the window to restore the file.

If the file still exists in its original location, Windows asks if you want to replace it, skip it, or compare both files. If the original file is gone, Windows automatically restores it to its previous location.

Move your stuff with OneDrive and get started with your new PC

Copy your files and folders to a secure location in the cloud then get up and running quickly so you can get back to doing what you love.

How to back up your files in windows 10

Set up OneDrive

Install the OneDrive sync client and start your setup. If you don’t have a Microsoft account, sign up for one using your existing or new email address. It’s free and comes with 5 GB of OneDrive storage.

How to back up your files in windows 10

Bring your files and favorites with you

How to back up your files in windows 10

Install what you love

Compare options for transferring files from PC to PC or from a Mac to PC

Check the table below to see what makes the most sense for your move.

Solution

Details

If you’ve been using your PC for a few years, you probably have some files that you want to move to the new PC. By using OneDrive, you can quickly transfer files from PC to PC or Mac to PC, so your files are organized like they were on your old computer and you can get right back to work.

You can use an external storage device such as a USB drive, SD card, or external hard drive to help you move all your favorite files off a Windows 7 PC and onto a Windows 10 PC.

Automatically move your programs, files, profile settings and more to your new Windows 10 PC. PCmover makes it simple and easy to set up a new Windows 10 PC.

Benefits

Cost

A Microsoft account comes with 5 GB of OneDrive storage. You can buy more storage if you want it. Compare plans.

Get details and pricing information from Laplink.

How to back up your files in windows 10

Can’t make it to the Store?

If you’re in need of customer support, you can still access our virtual workshops, trainings and products on microsoft.com, or contact us for help.

File transfer FAQ

OneDrive is a Microsoft cloud storage service that lets you store your personal files in one place, share them with others, and get to them from any device connected to the Internet.

Check out this brief video that will walk you through a few quick steps to set up an account.

A free OneDrive basic account offers 5 GB of storage. Need more space? No problem, see available options.

Yes. If OneDrive is not the best fit for you, there are other options available. For example, you can use an external hard drive along with the Windows Backup & Restore feature. There are also other programs designed to help with backing up your files and data and some retailers have service desks that will do the work for you.

Yes. You can install or activate compatible versions of Office on your new computer using your product key.

For the best possible experience, we recommend doing a fresh installation of your applications on your new Windows 10 PC. The Microsoft Store has a variety of third-party applications that can be easily downloaded and installed. For any software not currently available in the Microsoft Store, we recommend going to that company’s official website and downloading the Windows 10 version from there. Your local retailer may also sell the latest versions of your apps and programs. In limited circumstances, some older software may not have an updated version that is compatible with Windows 10.

Yes, you can drag whole folders from File Explorer to your OneDrive folder.

Speed, security, durability, and great design—you can have it all

Laptops, desktops, 2-in-1s, gaming PCs—whatever your needs, you’ll find Windows at the heart of it.

With Windows 10’s File History, you can automatically back up important files and documents to an external location and recover them in a pinch.

How to back up your files in windows 10

If a critical and irreplaceable file you were viewing the other day is lost or will no longer open, you would be in trouble if not for Windows 10’s File History feature. It can automatically save specific file folders to a backup device, thus allowing you to recover a previous version of a file should it go missing or become corrupted and unusable.

Here’s how to set up File History and save your important documents, photos, and files before something goes wrong.

Set Up Storage Device

First, make sure you have a viable drive connected to or accessible from your PC. This could be a simple flash drive, an external drive, or a network location on a Network Attached Storage drive. If your drive plugs into the computer, make sure to connect it before trying anything else. For a wireless network drive, it must be connected to power and properly mapped.

Set Up File History

How to back up your files in windows 10

In Windows 10, click the Start button, go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup, then click Add a drive under the Back up using File History section. Assuming you’ve connected a workable backup device, Windows displays a list of all such locales. Select the location you wish to use for your backups.

How to back up your files in windows 10

File History is now enabled, though it’s not yet backing up any files. Click More options to set up a few parameters. At the top of the File History window, click the Back up my files drop-down menu and choose how frequently you wish to back up your files, from every 10 minutes to Daily.

How to back up your files in windows 10

Then click the Keep my backups drop-down menu, and select how long you want to retain your backed up files—anything from Until space is needed to Forever.

Manage Folders

How to back up your files in windows 10

By default, File history will begin backing up a selection of default folders, including Desktop, Downloads, Music, and more. However, you can also remove some of these folders from the mix. Scroll down the Backup options window and review the list of default folders already included in the backup. Select any folder you don’t wish to back up and then click the Remove button to exclude it.

How to back up your files in windows 10

You can add your own custom folders by clicking the Add a folder button under the Back up these folders heading. From File Explorer, select any folders not included in the backup that you wish to add.

Backup Files

How to back up your files in windows 10

Once you’re all set, click the Back up now button at the top of the screen and Windows will start backing up these files included in your backup set. After your backup has finished, Windows displays the total size and the date and time of the backup.

Restore Files

How to back up your files in windows 10

Now, if that vitally important file goes missing or has become corrupted, you can use your File History backup to restore it. Go back to Settings > Update & Security > Backup and click More options again. Scroll down to the bottom of the File History window and click the Restore files from a current backup link.

How to back up your files in windows 10

Windows displays all the folders that have been backed up by File History. You may need to scroll through a few pages in order to find the file you seek. Double-click the folder you want, then double-click the file to view it. If it’s the file you need, click the green button with the white arrow at the bottom of the window to restore the file.

How to back up your files in windows 10

If the file still exists in its original location, Windows asks if you want to replace it, skip it, or compare both files. If the original file is gone, Windows automatically restores it to its previous location.

  • Windows Backup allows users to create backups for your data and restore data which are lost, damaged or deleted from the previously created backups. Although this feature was deprecated in Windows 8 and removed in Windows 8.1, it regains support in Windows 10 operating system. It permits users to make copies of their data and create a system image, including system settings, programs and files, which enable users to restore the content of their PCs easily in case of hard drive crashes, data loss, or system corruption.

    Once Windows Backup is set up in your computer, it will keep tracking files and folders that are new created or modified and then adds them to your backup disk. However, if there is no enough space on backup disk for new backups or you simply don’t want to use this feature any more, you may consider disabling Windows Backup on your computer. Well, below are two simple ways to turn off Windows Backup in Windows 10.

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    Way 1: Turn Off Windows Backup in Windows 10 through Services

    The first way offered to you to disable Windows Backup in Windows 10 is through Services. It is a regular way to turn off Windows 10 backup. You can implement this way according to the below instructions.

    Step 1. Open Control Panel on your Windows 10 computer, click the button of Category on the upper right corner of the interface, and then select to view by large or small icons.

    Step 2. Find the option of Administrative Tools and click it to expand the Administrative Tools window.

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    Step 3. Go to the option of Services in the Name column and double-click it to proceed.

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    Step 4. In the Services window, look for the item of Windows Backup, right-click it and choose Properties from the drop-down menu to open the Windows Backup Properties pane.

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    Step 5. If the service status is running, click the Stop button first of all.

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    Step 6. Click to expand the startup type drop menu, select Disabled, and then click Apply > OK to save changes.

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    Way 2: Turn Off Windows Backup in Windows 10 with System Genius

    Another way provided here is to use a program to disable Windows Backup in Windows 10 for you. iSunshare System Genius is an all-in-one third-party tool which provides an intuitive interface for you to easily disable or enable all sorts of Windows services. But that’s not all. You can also use it to clean up junk files & invalid registry entries and disable startup programs in order to speed up the running speed of your computer effectively. Now download and use it and you will discover that it is much stronger than you expect.

    Step 1. After installing iSunshare System Genius in your Windows 10 PC, open it and opt System Services.

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    Step 2. Locate to the option of Windows Backup and then tap on the Disable button to turn off this feature.

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    Tips: The next time when you change your mind, you can hit the Enable button to turn on Windows Backup again.

    With Windows 10’s File History, you can automatically back up important files and documents to an external location and recover them in a pinch.

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    If a critical and irreplaceable file you were viewing the other day is lost or will no longer open, you would be in trouble if not for Windows 10’s File History feature. It can automatically save specific file folders to a backup device, thus allowing you to recover a previous version of a file should it go missing or become corrupted and unusable.

    Here’s how to set up File History and save your important documents, photos, and files before something goes wrong.

    Set Up Storage Device

    First, make sure you have a viable drive connected to or accessible from your PC. This could be a simple flash drive, an external drive, or a network location on a Network Attached Storage drive. If your drive plugs into the computer, make sure to connect it before trying anything else. For a wireless network drive, it must be connected to power and properly mapped.

    Set Up File History

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    In Windows 10, click the Start button, go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup, then click Add a drive under the Back up using File History section. Assuming you’ve connected a workable backup device, Windows displays a list of all such locales. Select the location you wish to use for your backups.

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    File History is now enabled, though it’s not yet backing up any files. Click More options to set up a few parameters. At the top of the File History window, click the Back up my files drop-down menu and choose how frequently you wish to back up your files, from every 10 minutes to Daily.

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    Then click the Keep my backups drop-down menu, and select how long you want to retain your backed up files—anything from Until space is needed to Forever.

    Manage Folders

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    By default, File history will begin backing up a selection of default folders, including Desktop, Downloads, Music, and more. However, you can also remove some of these folders from the mix. Scroll down the Backup options window and review the list of default folders already included in the backup. Select any folder you don’t wish to back up and then click the Remove button to exclude it.

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    You can add your own custom folders by clicking the Add a folder button under the Back up these folders heading. From File Explorer, select any folders not included in the backup that you wish to add.

    Backup Files

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    Once you’re all set, click the Back up now button at the top of the screen and Windows will start backing up these files included in your backup set. After your backup has finished, Windows displays the total size and the date and time of the backup.

    Restore Files

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    Now, if that vitally important file goes missing or has become corrupted, you can use your File History backup to restore it. Go back to Settings > Update & Security > Backup and click More options again. Scroll down to the bottom of the File History window and click the Restore files from a current backup link.

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    Windows displays all the folders that have been backed up by File History. You may need to scroll through a few pages in order to find the file you seek. Double-click the folder you want, then double-click the file to view it. If it’s the file you need, click the green button with the white arrow at the bottom of the window to restore the file.

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    If the file still exists in its original location, Windows asks if you want to replace it, skip it, or compare both files. If the original file is gone, Windows automatically restores it to its previous location.

  • Technical Level : Intermediate

    With every new revision of Windows comes the process of migrating to it. Many of you will be initiating a clean install instead of an in place upgrade. Before you do that though, you will need to ensure your data can move to the new version of Windows or that new device you will be buying. In this article, we take a look at backing up your files, specifically, we look at backing up manually. Recent versions of Windows include File History, which was introduced in Windows 8.0 in 2012 but based on my personal experience, it is not as thorough as Windows Easy Transfer which is no longer available or supported. A manual backup is also handy for migrating your personal files to a new PC or an important way to ensure your data is kept safe.

    What you need to start this project?

    The first thing I recommend you do is invest in an external hard disk. I can’t exhaust this enough; they are affordable and can store lots of data. You can probably get a 4TB drive for around $100.

    USB External hard disk

    Keep in mind, if you have a complex configuration, this article does not delve into the nuances of multiple partitions or drives with data scattered across them although the same rules can apply in regards to backup. If you do have folders for data such as documents, music, pictures and videos stored on other partitions or drives, then I would recommend you disconnect these data drives and upgrade only the system partition. You can always reattach your data drives after setup is complete.

    Turn on Show Hidden Files & Folders

    You want your backup to be as thorough as possible. Within your User folder is a hidden directory called AppData. This folder stores important settings for the apps you use, such as custom directionaries for Microsoft Word, passwords for apps like Chrome, Outlook data files and mail folders for apps like Windows Mail.

    To turn on Hidden Files and folders, start by opening your user folder. Press Windows key + R then type: %userprofile% then hit Enter on your keyboard.

    Enabling Show hidden files and Folders

    Windows 8/8.1/10 – Click the View tab then click Options then click the View tab. Under Advanced settings > Hidden files and folders select the radio box Show hidden files and folders.

    Windows Vista/7 – Click Organize > Search and Folder Options
    Windows XP – Click Tools > Folder Options

    AppData folder is now visible.

    After completing the above steps, you should now see the AppData folder appear in your user folder.

    Next step is to simply select all the folder. You can do this by pressing Ctrl + A or

    Click Organize > Select All (Windows 7),
    Click Home tab > Select All (Windows 8/8.1/10),
    Edit > Select All (Windows XP).

    How to back up your files in windows 10

    Open your External hard disk then create a new folder and call it backup or a unique name. Open it then press Ctrl + V or

    Click Organize > Paste (Windows 7),
    Click Home tab > Paste (Windows 8/8.1/10),
    Click Edit > Paste (Windows XP).

    Depending on the amount of data, this can take a while.

    If you have multiple accounts

    If you have more than one account on your computer, log into each account and repeat the same steps. Make sure a unique folder is created for each account you backup manually.

    Remember other folders you might have

    If you store data in folders such as Public, remember to look in there too. The Public folder is located in C:\Users\Public

    In Windows XP it is called Shared Documents located under C:\Documents and Settings

    NOTE: Some apps will keep their own data stores within their application folders, so make sure you browse and copy those over if necessary. Some users have a tendency to store files at the root of the hard disk, normally where the operating system is installed (Local Disk c:\). Also check there for any important files and move them to Documents folder.

    Restoration

    Once your backup is complete and you have your new computer setup and Windows is installed and running, the next step is to copy over your files and folders from the external hard disk. You can do this two ways, you can individually copy the contents of each folder into the respective folder on the new computer from the external drive. Here is what you can easily do.

    Connect and turn on your external hard disk.

    Browse the backup folder with your backed up folders.

    Press Ctrl + A or Click Organize > Select All (Windows 7), Home tab > Select All (Windows 8/8.1/10), Edit > Select All (Windows XP).

    Open your User folder on the computer

    Press Windows key + R then type: %userprofile% then hit Enter on your keyboard.

    Press Ctrl + V or Click Organize > Paste (Windows 7), Home tab > Paste (Windows 8/8.1/10), Edit > Paste (Windows XP).

    You will be prompted if you want to replace the folders, click Yes.

    Depending on the amount of data, this can take a while.

    If you have other accounts, make sure the respective accounts have been created and logged into then repeat the same steps.