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How to create a backup (and restore it) in Windows 10

Tom Morgan
25 Jul 2015
Windows 10 backup - Control panel/settings
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Setting up a backup is a vital first step on any operating system. Here's how to do it in Windows 10

With any computer storage device, it's not a question of if it will fail, but when. For this reason, it's definitely worth setting up a backup routine as soon as possible. With Windows 10, Microsoft has simplified the process of creating a backup, meaning there’s no longer any excuse for losing important files if your hard disk or SSD goes pop.

<blockquote><a href="/software/operating-systems/1403607/date-announced-for-windows-10-anniversary-update-plus-all-the">Find out about all the best Windows 10 features and how to use them</a></blockquote>

First, make sure your backup disk is connected to your PC. You can use an external disk if you have one, or assign an internal disk as a backup destination. It is, of course, vital that your backup disk is separate from the one containing all your files.

Set up your first backup

Open the Settings panel by clicking the icon at the bottom-left of the Start menu. From here, click Update and Security and then select Backup from the panel on the left.

Windows 10 backup - Control panel/settings

You’ll need to assign your disk as a backup destination. Click the big + symbol next to ‘Add a drive’ and select your disk from the list that appears. Windows will automatically assign a number of folders to back up to your disk, including Pictures, Videos, Documents, the camera roll, Downloads and the Desktop.

Windows 10 backup - main menu

Clicking More Options opens a new window, where you can force a backup task to run immediately rather on a set schedule with the Back up now button, change the length of time between backups, set how long your backups will be kept for (either permanently, until the disk runs out of space, or a specific length of time), and add or remove folders to be backed up.

Windows 10 backup - settings

How to restore a file

If you want to retrieve a lost file from a previous backup, scroll down to the bottom of this window and click Restore files from a current backup. This will open a new window, where you can browse through your entire backup by folder, preview your files to check you’ve got the correct version, and restore a file to its original location.

Windows 10 backup - selective restore

Dealing with legacy backups

If you created a backup using the Windows 7 Backup and Restore tool, you can still restore it on Windows 10. Clicking the link at the bottom of the Backup window will open the legacy Windows 7 File History tool and let you restore any backups found on your connected disks. This legacy File History tool is also the only way to create a System Image of your entire Windows 10 installation without using a third-party utility.

Windows 10 backup - selective restore

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