Windows 10 includes several types of backup and restore tools. And we will look at all of them.
Sometimes good things happen to bad things. Fortunately, Windows includes a number of tools to help you make sure your files are backed up properly and restore your computer when needed. On the backup side of things, File History is the primary backup tool in Windows 8 and 10. It not only provides full backups, but also a way to restore previous versions of files. Microsoft is also including the old Windows 7 backup and restore in both Windows 8 and Windows 10, and it works the same way as before. You can use them to perform selective or even full image-based backups. While it’s not really a true backup solution, you can add a little redundancy to your file storage by integrating with OneDrive.
On the recovery side, Windows provides a full recovery environment that you can use for troubleshooting and recovery. You can also completely restore your PC to its default settings. Here’s how it all fits together.
Built-in backup tools in Windows
You’ve heard the advice a million times, but it’s still surprising how many people don’t take the time to make sure their files are backed up appropriately. We’ve covered all the possible ways to make sure your computer is backed up, and we’ve even talked about which files you should back up. The good news is that Windows itself provides some pretty solid tools to get the job done. Remember, it’s not just about backing up to an external hard drive. You should also create offsite backups – or at least store a copy of your backups in another location.
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File History was first introduced in Windows 8 and continues to be the primary built-in backup solution in Windows 10. File History does not create a full backup of your entire PC. Rather, it focuses on making sure that your personal files are backed up. You set File History to back up all your files to an external drive, and then you can have it run really easily. It not only backs up files regularly, it also keeps previous versions of files that you can restore easily.
By default, File History saves important folders in your user folder, such as Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos and parts of the AppData folder. You can exclude folders that you don’t want backed up and add folders elsewhere on your PC that you do want backed up.
If you need to restore files, you can browse the entire collection of backed up files and folders.
Or you can restore previous versions of files directly in File Explorer.
File History gives you a pretty reliable way to make sure that your personal files are backed up regularly. For more information on how to set it up and use it, see the full guide on how to use file history.
Backup and Restore (Windows 7)
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Microsoft has also kept the old backup and restore function of Windows 7. It was available in Windows 8, has been in Windows 8.1 removed and is back in Windows 10. You can use the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) tool to restore any old Windows 7 backups to your Windows 10 computer – probably why the tool is You can also use it to back up your Windows 10 PC exactly as you would back up a Windows 7 PC.
Unlike the newer file history backup solution, you can use Backup and Restore to more Easily create a backup of virtually anything on your hard drive. However, it also doesn’t provide a way to manage older versions of your files.
You will find the tool by pressing Start "Fuse" and then type "Backup and Restore (Windows 7)" select.
Setting up backup is fairly simple. You choose an external drive (or network location), select the folders you want to back up, and set a schedule. After that everything is automatic. For more information, see the complete Windows 7 Backup and Recovery guide.
System Image Backups
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Also available in the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) tool, you’ll find an option to create a full system image backup instead of just backing up selected folders.
This tool creates an image snapshot of your entire system – personal files, installed applications, operating system files and everything else. The advantage of an image backup is that it can be restored. If your hard drive fails, you simply need to replace it and restore the image. You’ll be right where you left off, without having to reinstall Windows, and then copy your backed up files to.
While they sound good – and they usually are – there are a few drawbacks to using an image backup The backup process itself is a little slower, but should still happen overnight. Since you’re backing up everything, you’ll need a larger drive to store the backups on. And should you need to restore something you backed up, you can’t reliably retrieve individual folders or files from the backup. It’s more of an all-or-nothing situation.
Also image backups are not as necessary in Windows 8 and 10 as before. With the "Reset PC" function you can restore your computer’s operating system to its initial state (which we will discuss later in this article). You’ll just have to reinstall apps and restore individual files. So it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide what’s best for you.
If you want to use image backup, you can find it in the Backup and Restore control (Windows 7) panel. Simply click on "Create a system image" on the left side of the window.
You choose where you want to store the backup – external hard drive, DVDs or a network location – and which drives it should include. After the backup is complete, you’ll also be prompted to create a system repair CD, which you can use to boot a computer and then restore your image backup. Also, check out our full guide on how to create a system image for more details.
We hear you. OneDrive is not really a backup solution. And you’re right – it’s not, at least in the traditional sense. However, OneDrive is now fully integrated with Windows. Files you store in OneDrive are stored locally, in the cloud, and on other devices you’ve synced with your OneDrive account. So if you were to blow away Windows and start over, all you’d have to do is log into OneDrive to get back all the files you’ve stored there.
So, while it’s not a true backup solution, OneDrive can give you some peace of mind by at least storing your personal files in multiple locations.
Built-in recovery tools in Windows
Backups are essential, but Windows also includes a number of restore tools that may just work helps you avoid having to restore those backups.
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If you have Windows problems that aren t fixed regularly, System Restore should be next on your list of things to try. It’s great for fixing certain types of issues, such as when a newly installed app or hardware driver causes problems.
System Restore always creates "restore points" Created. Restore points are snapshots of your Windows system files, specific program files, registry settings and hardware drivers. You can create a restore point at any time, although Windows automatically creates a restore point once a week. It also creates a restore point right before an important system event, e.g. B. Installing a new device driver, app, or Windows update.
If something goes wrong, you can run System Restore and point to a recent restore point . The system settings, files and drivers will be restored, and the underlying Windows system will be restored to that previous state.
For more information on System Restore, see the full guide on how to use System Restore and apps it can affect and how to make sure it’s enabled on your system.
Advanced startup options
Windows has always offered some sort of recovery environment to help you troubleshoot when your computer won’t boot up. In Windows 7, you can access certain advanced startup options, z. B. boot into safe mode or get a command prompt by pressing F8 at system startup.
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In Windows 8 and 10, the advanced startup options work a little differently, but they are still there. If Windows fails to load normally, these startup options will automatically appear. To access it, go to Settings> Update& Security> Recovery> Advanced Startup and click "Restart now". You can also hold down the Shift key when you click Restart in the Start menu.
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From here, you can restore Windows from a system image you created, use System Restore to fix problems, and perform other maintenance tasks. If you are running preview builds of Windows, this menu allows you to revert to a previous build if the current build does not start or run properly. This menu should also be displayed if your PC cannot load Windows normally.
Recovery Drive Creator
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Windows also lets you create a recovery drive that lets you access these advanced startup options even if your Windows installation is completely corrupted and you can’t access this menu or if you want to replace a hard drive and restore an image backup.
To create a recovery drive, click on Start, type "recovery" and then select "Create a recovery drive".
You just have to click in the wizard on "Recovery Drive" and a select drive (CD/DVD in Windows 7, USB in Windows 8 or 10) and have it copied.
Once it’s done, label the drive and save it to a safe place so you can boot your PC when Windows won’t load.
Reset this PC
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need to know the "Reset this P C-Feature was one of the nicest additions to Windows 8 and 10. It will be used to restore your computer to its default operating system state. This essentially replaces the need to reinstall Windows from scratch with an installation DVD or USB drive. Instead, tell Windows to reset your PC so it can do your job. But you can also keep your personal files if you want to.
Note that Windows 8 separate "Refresh your PC" and" Reset your PC options. The upgrade kept all your files and personalization settings, but reset your PC settings to default and uninstalled your desktop apps. Reset everything, including your files, z. B. a complete reinstallation of Windows from scratch. Windows 10 simplifies things by only offering the option to reset, but you can decide if you want to keep your personal files during the reset process.
If you remove everything, you can also tell Windows to wipe the drive a bit You should do before you get rid of a Windows 10 PC or other device.
In the end, the best backup and restore tools in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t use them. Backing up your computer is so easy these days that there is really no excuse not to do it. So, back up, and learn how to use these recovery tools when you need them.
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