How to Backup Windows? A Step-By-Step Approach to Fighting Data Loss For Good

obr2By Davis Porter — Last Updated: 30 Apr'18 2016-10-03T11:49:40+00:00
Backup cloud services

After losing all my precious files following a malware attack when I was on Windows 7, I’ve become hyper-vigilant about my computer’s security.

I thought I had comprehensively protected my PC, with the latest antivirus software, only to get attacked by ransomware.

It’s almost as if hackers never sleep. They have boundless enthusiasm for new forms of pervasive viruses.

Having been on the receiving end a couple of times, I realized that recovery is just as important as protection.

Therefore, in addition to installing antivirus software, I backed up all my Windows files to the cloud.

But wait, does Windows come with its own backup and recovery tools?

Let’s find out.

How to Backup a Windows PC – Windows Backup Tools

Windows 10 comes with two backup tools:

Windows Backup

Restore Plus File History

Just like its name suggests, the Backup and Restore tools are used to backup files and update according to a pre-specified schedule.

You can also backup an entire system, including the OS and documents, as a restorable system image.

The File History tool, on the other hand, automatically backs up multiple file versions, allowing you to restore data from a point in history.

Of course, you can use either of the two as a backup strategy.

However, if you need a comprehensive plan, consider using both, plus an offsite backup service like Carbonite, just in case your system gets infiltrated and attacked.

So, how do you backup files in Windows?

Setting Up The Backup and Restore Tool

To use Backup and Restore, click on the Windows button and search “backup and restore”. Click to open it via the Control Panel.

Click Setup Backup

Choose a destination drive. If you’d like one that’s connected to the network, select Save on a Network, to open the network drive options.

Now, decide on whether you’d like Windows to choose critical files to backup automatically, or you’d rather make the selection personally.

Of course, I advise doing it yourself, to tweak folder options better according to personal preferences.

If Windows selects what to backup, it will gather and save all of your:


User files

Desktop files

Plus create a complete system image.

Let Me Choose, on the other hand, is ideal for selecting specific folders and files to backup.

That makes it particularly advisable for users who are concerned about disk space, and specific files in other locations, that may not be picked up by Windows.

When you are content with the selection, click Save Settings and run a backup to initiate the first backup process.

After the process is complete, you don’t ever have to worry about handling the backup process again.

The system will automatically update backed up files according to your preferred schedule.

Usually, the default backup update is set to run every Sunday at 7 pm.

Setting Up File History

On Windows 8 and above, click on the Windows button and search File History.

Proceed to the File History Settings displayed by the search results.

On the File History Settings window, click on the Backup tab and click Add Drive.

Choose the specific network or drive location you’d like to save file history backups.

Go to More Options, where you can choose:

Specific folders to backup

Begin the backup process

Adjust backup schedules

Shift File History to a different drive

To start off the backup process, click Backup now.

Once the process is complete, files will continue getting updated in the background, according to your schedule and history settings.

As you’ve probably already noted by now, primary backups are just as vulnerable as the actual computer.

To facilitate scheduled backup updates, you’ll have to leave drives connected directly to your central computer.

And that’s where things start falling apart.

Malware can easily infiltrate and attack an entire network, including backup drives, which are ironically supposed to help you recover from such a data disaster.

The best way to protect yourself, therefore, is by strategizing and implementing a secondary backup option — the cloud.

And since I have been leveraging Carbonite for a couple of years now, I’ll walk you through the process of backing up files with them.

Cloud Backup for Windows: How to Set It Up

Go to Carbonite and sign up for an account. Thereby gaining access to Carbonite’s web portal.

You’ll be prompted to install the PC version. Click Start Trial to proceed to the download window.

After clicking Download now, the installer will get automatically downloaded to your PC.

Double click on the installer, and follow the prompts, to install the entire application in a couple of seconds.

The Backup window is set to launch by default.

On the Computer Backup window, click start backing up to initiate the process of uploading files to your C:\Users folder.

To choose other folders, schedule updates and manage the encryption key, click Advanced Settings before the actual backup process begins.

When all the files are backed up, you can always add new ones by right-clicking on them in Windows Explorer, and choosing Carbonite; Back this up.

If you have any comments or queries, feel free to leave them down below.


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