How to Back Up Your Windows Computer to external drive or Cloud storage

Photos, videos, downloads, music, apps, settings, folders – make sure it’s all locked away safely.

Backup is a process that copies all your files, data and information to effectively create two versions – one on your original devices and one backup drive. Regularly Backup your computer to an external driver or cloud storage is essential to protect your important data and files from being lost in case of hardware failure, malware attack, or accidental deletion. Latest Windows 11 offer several options including File History, OneDrive, and System Image Backup to backup your data every photo, music file, app, download, setting, folder and personal document. Here’s how to use each of these methods to back up your Windows 11 PC.

Backing up your Windows 11 PC is crucial to prevent data loss and ensure the safety of your files.

How to backup computer Windows 11

You can use an external hard drive, USB drive, network location, or cloud storage service like OneDrive or Google Drive to store your backup. An external hard drive for backup your computer is cheaper and faster, On the other hand, cloud backup is much slower and more expensive. But the cloud option is a more secure backup compared to the external HDD (That has a chance of damage, theft or other problems).

Copy to external Device

This is one of the easiest and quickest methods to back up your important files and data. Using an external hard drive, you just need to connect the drive to your computer or laptop with a USB cable. Once connected, you can choose individual files or folders to copy onto the external hard drive.

Copy data to external device
Image by Jan Van Bizar from Pixabay

Using File History Backup

Windows 11 include a free backup utility called File History, which allows you back up your files and folder to an external drive or network location. Also, you can configure File History to back up a particular drive or folder automatically or restore files or folders.

  • First, connect an external Disk drive to your PC
  • Next Press the Windows key + S, search for File History, and select it from top

Open File history

Click Turn on the option to enable the File history to back your Files regularly.

Turn on File history

  • On the left-hand side click on Select Drive, then Choose the external hard drive or network location where you want to store your backup files.
  • In addition, Click Exclude folders to remove folders or Advanced settings to change other settings.

Back up to the cloud

Also use cloud storage such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox to store your data in the cloud, so you can access it from anywhere and easily restore it if needed. All of them provide a few gigabytes of online storage for free, typically 2GB to 15GB, but you can increase your storage limit by paying a monthly or yearly fee.

Backup using OneDrive

This is a cloud storage backup option integrated with Windows 11.  Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage service allows you to store your files in the cloud and access them from any device. It also has a built-in backup feature that allows you to back up your important files to the cloud

Here’s how to use OneDrive to back up your files:

  • Sign in to your Microsoft account and open the OneDrive website.
  • Click on the “Upload” button and select the files or folders you want to back up.
  • Once your files are uploaded, they will be automatically synced to your OneDrive account.
  • To access your backed-up files, simply log in to your OneDrive account from any device.

OneDrive backup

Use third-party backup software

There are many third-party backup software options available, that offer more advanced features than the built-in Windows Backup feature, such as the ability to create a full system image backup or schedule automatic backups.

Cloud backup service

Also, you can use an online backup service that runs in the background on your PC and automatically backup your files to their web storage.
Online backup services protect you against any type of data loss including hard drive failure, theft, natural disaster and so on. But their service cost money, and take a longer time to back up file or restore a backup.

Back Up Your Windows Computer
“© By onephoto/Adobe Stock”

Create System Image Backup

The system Image Backup feature on Windows 11 allows you to create a full backup of your PC, including the operating system, settings, and files.

System image backup copies the entire drive into one compressed but still huge file

Here’s how to create a System Image Backup:

  • Connect an external hard drive to your PC where you want to store your backup.
  • Open the control panel, navigate to system and security then click on “Backup and Restore (Windows 7).”
  • Select “Create a system image” and choose the drive where you want to save your backup.

Create system image backup

  • Follow the prompts to create a System Image Backup of your PC.
  • Once the backup is created, you can use it to restore your PC to the same state as when the backup was created.

To restore a backup with the system image tool on Windows 11

  • Connect the system image drive and start your computer from a bootable USB drive.
  • Access the advanced options then click on System image recovery options

System image recovery windows 11

Select Windows 11 as the targeted operating system and follow the on-screen instructions.

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