Scheduled backups and system images are very effective ways to make sure your data is safe and recoverable, even in the case that your OS is completely trashed.
A scheduled backup is the simpler method, which is more useful for less concerned users who simply want to make sure that not all data will be lost upon a crash or other error. The Windows Backup and Restore we will be walking you is automatically an incremental backup - it will backup all changes since the last backup.
There are 3 different ways to backup your data:
Differential: Starts with a full backup. Backs up all of the data that has changed since the last full backup, not just since the last differential back up.
Incremental: Starts with a full backup. A small backup done relatively short periods of time apart. Only backs up the data that has changed since the previous backup.
Full: This type of backup takes much longer to do, but saves every piece of data on the computer. These are typically done only periodically, because they are time consuming and require much more disk space.
A system image, on the other, always saves an entire 'snapshot' of every file and setting on your computer, and can restore your device to exactly it's saved state by restoring from the system image.
Today, we are going to step through both setting up and recovering from a system image, and scheduling a backup.
Step 1: Go to Backup and Restore
Search Windows for “Backup and Restore” and run it. This program allows to backup files, restore files, or create system images. For this tutorial, you will want to click on “Create a System Image”.
Step 2: Select Your Image Location
You will be given a popup window that asks where you want to create the System Image on. In this tutorial, you will want to create it on a hard disk.
You will have to select a drive to backup onto. If you already have a drive, choose that drive letter for the backup.
Step 3: Disk Management (if Needed)
If you do not have a drive to backup onto, follow these steps.
Search for and run Disk Management.
First, shrink down the main partition by about 30 GB.
You will now have 30GB of free space. Right click on the section labeled “Unallocated”, and click on “New Simple Volume”. Follow the steps in the wizard to create a new volume.
Step 4: Confirming Your Settings
Once the drive is selected, click on “Next”. A new screen will popup, asking you to confirm your changes. Click next, and the system image will take a few minutes to save. You then have a restorable system image.
Step 5: Restoring From Your Image
To restore, you will want to boot into the Windows Recovery Environment. To do this, you can boot from a Windows installation CD and click Repair Windows. From here you can choose to recover Windows.
Step 6: Choose Your Image
From here, you will begin the restore Wizard. You will have to choose the System Image you want to restore from. After entering the settings, you will be asked to confirm your choice and enter the date/timezone. After this, Windows will begin restoring your PC, which again may take a few minutes.
Step 7: Your System Is Restored!
You will now be prompted to restore your files, and your System Image is back on your PC!
Step 8: Scheduling a Backup - Begin
Search Windows for “Backup and Restore” and run it. This program allows to backup files, restore files, or create system images.
Click on “setup backup”, this will require the administrative password2.
Step 9: Choosing a Location to Backup To
You will be prompted where you want to save the backup to. Select the option you want to backup to, and click next.
Step 10: What Do You Want to Backup?
It will then ask what you want to backup, either backing up what Windows chooses or what you the user chooses.
For this tutorial, check the ‘let me choose’ box, and then click ‘next’. This will prompt you to select what you want to backup. Check whichever directories are applicable to back up. Click continue.
Step 11: How Often Do You Want to Backup?
You will then be asked to review your backup settings. You will also see a schedule option in the middle of the window. If you wish to change the schedule at which it is backed up, click this.
If you do, you will then be asked how often you want to backup (weekly/daily), what day you want to backup, and what time you want to backup. Click “OK” on this Window.
Step 12: Review Your Settings!
Click "Save Setting and Run Backup" if your settings are correct.
Step 13: Done!
You will now see a green bar showing the progress of your backup, until it completes. Your data is backed up!
Step 14: Footnotes
Partitions are a subdivision of a hard drive.
Normally, you will have to input the password after most steps, so backups are best done on the administrator account (saves having to type in password after every time) This will take some time, depending on how much you decided to backup.