Is your entire life on your computer? So, what are you waiting for to protect all your data. Backups, if made regularly, allow you to keep your installed photos, documents and programs safe.
Thus, an eventual hard disk failure or an overwhelming virus attack will not catch you off guard and it will be very easy for you to recover all your files and configuration settings prior to the computer disaster.
In this article, you learn 5 methods of creating backup copies in Windows 10, both from the files saved on your PC and from the system.
Specifically, we will review several ways to create a backup using the tools offered by Windows 10 – and to a large extent also Windows 7 and 8 – as well as other external services such as cloud platforms or third party programs.
The tricks that we will show you below can also be useful if you are thinking of restoring the factory settings of your computer, since you need to save your files separately.
What is a backup? What types of backup are there?
A backup – also known as a backup, 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:
- File Backup
- System backup
You must bet on one or the other depending on what you want to protect. That is, you should opt for the first one if you are interested in saving your personal documents in order to recover them later. The second type allows you to copy the entire system from your computer.
The file backup allows you to create a copy of the documents you have saved on your PC, either individually or several files at once, to have them on another device and recover them whenever you want.
This type of copy can be made for any kind of file you have on your computer: from the important office documents of a student or a business person, to the infinite personal photo gallery, music and videos.
Because, unfortunately, data loss from a computer is more common than we would like, it is highly advisable to get an external hard drive whenever we buy a new PC or laptop.
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, like this one Toshiba hard drive for 50.
The system backup allows you to create a copy of the entire Windows operating system that you currently have on your computer, that is, of all programs, files and configuration settings.
This is perhaps a somewhat more laborious process than the previous type of copy, but it is certainly very useful if you do not want to lose everything when you need to fix a computer that is not working well or that does not turn on directly.
Making a backup of the system can take a long time and take up a lot of space – we are talking about hundreds of GB -, which may be annoying if you want to create one often.
Now, there are some programs that copy only what you have recently changed, added or updated with respect to the previous copy, and that helps you save time and space.
How to back up files in Windows 10?
All versions of the Windows operating system have several integrated tools that allow you to create both a simple backup of your files and the somewhat more complex system backups.
In this section, you learn how to make a file backup with the Windows File History tool and how to restore it, as well as the process to copy your documents with cloud platforms.
There are also third-party applications – free or paid – designed for creating backup copies. In addition, many of the external hard drives also include their own program, so you don't need to buy another one.
Back up files with File History
The File History tool offers you the possibility to program and make copies of your personal or portable personal data on a regular basis, to save them on an external device.
It also allows you to save this backup directly to your PC's hard drive, but this can be a bit risky, since you will lose it if you experience a hard drive failure or your computer breaks down.
In 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 safe at all. So, don't let laziness invade you and also take advantage of storage services on-line.
To create a file backup with File History in Windows 10, follow the step-by-step instructions below.
one. Go to the panel of Configuration and select Update and security.
two. Access the section Backup in the menu on the left hand side, 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, on this same screen you can configure how regularly to make a copy (from every 10 minutes to once a day) and for 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?
Backups won't help much if you don't know how to restore them, right? Below we explain how to recover files from a backup.
one. Open the program Restore files with File History -You can search it with the search tool that you will find next to the Start menu-. You will see all the folders you have copied to your external device.
two. Locate the buttons Previous Y Following -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 an earlier version of a document that you have recently updated.
Back up files with cloud storage platforms
Another of the simplest and most practical ways to create backup copies of your files is to use 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 best of all, most are free or can be hired 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 it offers may be insufficient. On the other hand, for Windows users it is very practical to opt for OneDrive, since it is integrated into Windows 10 devices.
Other platforms with this service on-line They 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, since if you delete a document from a computer, it can also be deleted from any other that is synchronized.
It is true that, increasingly, these services on-line They offer an option to recover deleted documents, as well as another to make several backups. Make sure you have these options set.
Despite the great advantages of saving documents in the cloud, in PCWorld Spain we always recommend having a copy on an external device and that the copy on-line Just 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.
How to make a system backup in Windows 10?
Making file backups is a relatively simple process, especially if we compare it with the steps to follow to create a system backup. That is because for the last few it is 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 framework than 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 simpler process than it may seem. There are also third-party applications that will make it much easier for us.
Make a system backup 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 make a system backup.
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.
one. Open the tool System protection. To do so, search Create a restore point with the magnifying glass you will find next to the Start menu.
two. 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 Set up, followed by Activate system protection Y To accept.
3. Then click on Create to create your first restore point, that is, a kind of capture of the state of your Windows – system, configuration and applications, but not files – in a specific date and time.
You must give it a name and click again on Create.
It's that simple to create a system backup. In this way, when you see that your computer does not work at all well – 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 see that the problem is solved.
To recover a restore point, you must follow the simple steps that we mark below:
one. In System protection, click on Restore system.
two. The restore program will open. Click on Following to access the restore points saved on your computer, select the one you want to restore and click on Following.
3. Finally, you should confirm that the selected restore point is really the one you want to restore. Click on Finalize.
4. After the restoration, your computer will automatically restart to apply the changes, so it is advisable to close all programs and save the changes of the documents that we have open.
Make a system backup by creating a system image
In the specific case of Windows 10, the main option to create a system backup is a tool called System Image. Below we explain in detail how to use it, a process that can be somewhat confusing for some.
one. Open the Control Panel of your PC and, in the section of Security system, Choose Backup and restore (Windows 7).
two. In the left hand menu, click on the option Create a system image to duplicate exactly the current state of your computer's hard drive, that is, the Windows 10 settings and all the programs and files saved on your PC.
3. Then you can choose where to save the backup, which by default will be stored on your external hard drive. Thus, if you have any problem with your PC, you can easily recover this copy of the system.
4. Finally, click on Following and confirm the backup configuration by clicking on Start the backup.
Imagine that days or months after creating this system image, your computer starts to give you problems. Simply, recover the backup in the option of Recovery of the section Update and security from your Configuration.
Now, keep in mind that if you recover this long-created copy, the changes you have made in other documents will be lost. That is 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 make backup copies of your most important documents. The System Image tool is the last resort in an emergency.
Make a system backup using external programs
Precisely because of the inconveniences we may encounter when using the backup tools built into Windows, some people prefer to rely on third-party applications as well.
There are many free programs available on the Internet. The most popular are EaseUS All Backup Free Y Paragon Backup And Recovery Free, both of high quality but that can be somewhat confusing for less experienced users.
In addition, although its name includes the word Free -Free in English-, it is good to know that to have access to all benefits, some money must be disbursed. In fact, the program often urges you to purchase the paid version.
As for other options, they stand out Acronis True Image Y AOMEI Backupper. Of both, although the first has received very good critics for years, the second application is cheaper and easier to use for beginners.
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