How to backup Windows 10 Computer to external hard drive or USB Drive

Backing up is an essential maintenance task for anyone wanting to protect their personal and professional information on any device since there is much at stake. Forever losing photographs that captured an invaluable moment in life or professional documents that we use daily in our job is not an option.

backup Windows 10

But it can happen in the blink of an eye. One the one hand, malware infections are so common nowadays that a simple ransomware can cause data loss, as well as OS corruption usually caused by any app or driver installation. On the other hand, no device is safe from hard disk drive failure, hindering us from accessing the unit.

This is why backups are an essential maintenance task on any device since they protect our personal files and the system and its apps, allowing us to restore them quickly and easily if there is any problem.

The software industry offers commercial solutions for this sort of tasks, but today we will take a look at Windows 10’s, Microsoft latest OS, own backup and recovery tools, how it creates backups and the recovery options that, as we said, will allow us to go back to a previous restore point before any problem began.

System image backup

This is the best method if we want to back up our PC’s system files, OS, configuration, apps and user files, as it will create an exact copy of a drive that we can use to restore our system in case of any critical errors.

How to create a system image back up:

• Right-click the Start button to bring up the hidden Quick Access menu and select Control Panel
• Click Backup and Restore (Windows 7)
• Click Create a system image

backup Windows 10

• Choose the destination for the system image. It can be a hard drive, a flash drive, a DVD or a network location
• Confirm the destination and click Start Backup

backup Windows 10

The backup could take from 10 minutes to several hours depending on the amount of data to be backed up, but the device can be used as usual during the process. This tool does not allow us to decide what files will be included in the backup, but it is an easy method that we can perform on the OS, which will create a complete OS snapshot that we can restore if there is any problem.

File history backup

This is the right method to back up files and restore them if they get lost or damaged.

• Go to Control Panel
• Click File History
• Connect an external drive, such as a hard drive or a flash drive, or a network location
• If you have multiple drives, click one to be used by File History
• Click Turn on

backup Windows 10

• This tool will back up the files in your Libraries, Desktop, Contacts and Favorites folders
• If you do not want a specific folder to be backed up, add it on the “Exclude these folders” section

Once the tool is activated for the first time, you can click Advance Settings where you can configure how often the backups are created and how long the will be kept. If a problem occurs, you just have to click Restore personal files and choose the version of the file that you want back on its original destination.

backup Windows 10

Advanced recovery

As a complement to the previous backup options, Windows 10 also offers an advanced recovery tool that undoes any change done to the system by restoring it to a previous point, which is incredibly useful when a driver or an app installed prevents the OS from functioning normally. To turn it on:

To turn it on:

• Go to Control Panel
• Click Recovery
Click Configure System Restore

backup Windows 10
• Click Configure to turn on system protection and adjust the disk space usage

backup Windows 10

• Create a restore point

backup Windows 10

From this moment forward, restore points will be created automatically and the older ones will be deleted as you fill up the disk space allocated to the system protection. To go back to a previous point, the same tool offers you an option to restore the system and correct any problem. Restoring the system does not affect files, images or personal data.

Create a recovery drive

The previous tool also allows us to create a recovery drive to be used when the PC cannot start or if there is any problem. We just have to:

• Go to Control Panel
• Click Recovery
• Click Create a recovery drive

• The external drive must have at least 8 GB (All the data on this drive will be deleted)

Once the external drive is created, we can start the PC and troubleshoot it. If we clicked the Back up system files option, we can use those files to reinstall Windows when needed.

Back up before it is too late

Instead of “wasting time” on these Windows 10 backup and recovery tools, backing up is a future investment that can save your life if any problem arises, as replacing damaged hardware can be done, but recovering important personal and work-related files sometimes is impossible.

The recovery tool is another vital function that allows us to restore the system to a previous point easily and quickly, and leave it to how it was before any problem began, which can save you precious time in terms of OS installation, configuration, apps and files.

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