How to Backup Windows 11
If you’ve upgraded your computer to Windows 11 already, you’re likely enjoying the great window layouts and many improved features.
But as with any Windows version so far, your system is still vulnerable to malware attacks, hardware failure, upgrade-related problems, and other common issues. One of the best ways to prevent permanently losing valuable data is to back up important files regularly and store them in a safe location.
Having them on hand allows you to effortlessly continue using your Windows 11 computer once you’ve dealt with whatever was causing your system to malfunction in the first place. There are several ways you can back up Windows 11, and we’ll guide you through all the solutions.
How to Backup Windows 11 Using OneDrive
When you open an account on Microsoft’s cloud-storage service, OneDrive, you get 5GB of free storage. However, many Windows 11 users already use some version of Microsoft Office, which comes with an extra 1TB of storage space.
That makes OneDrive an excellent location for Windows 11 backup. Besides, as they’re both developed by the same company, OneDrive seamlessly incorporates into Windows 11. So, how do you back up Windows 11 to OneDrive? Here are all the steps to follow:
- Press “Win key + I” at the same time. The shortcut opens Windows “Settings.”
- Select “System” followed by “Storage.”
- Click on “Advanced Backup options.”
- Select “Back up files to OneDrive.” It is the first option at the top.
- If you’re not already logged in, you’ll be asked to enter your OneDrive email address and password.
- Follow the on-screen instructions for a complete setup.
- A new window will pop up, asking you to “Manage folder backup.”
- Once you’ve selected which files to back up, click the “Start backup” button.
By choosing this option, you get the most efficient Windows 11 system backup. The only potential downside is the limited space. Before you start the file backup, OneDrive will show precisely how much storage space is left so that you can make an informed decision.
For many people, that might not be an issue. But if you need to back up a massive amount of data, you may need to buy more storage space, which is pricey and comes with limitations on how much you can buy. Or you can get an external hard drive that meets your needs as another solution.
How to Backup Windows 11 Using File History
If OneDrive is not a viable Windows 11 backup option for you, there’s another reliable option you can consider. Both Windows 10 and 11 have a built-in backup tool called “File History,” which allows you to save all your files to an external hard drive.
The process is pretty straightforward and requires you to take the following steps:
- Attach an external hard drive with enough storage.
- Go to “Settings” followed by “Storage.”
- Select “Advanced storage settings” and then “Backup Options.”
- Click the “Add a drive” button under the “Back up using File History” option and click the “Add a drive” button.
- Select your external drive from the drop-down menu.
- Ensure the “Automatically back up my files” toggle button is “On.”
For as long as your external drive is connected, Windows 11 will regularly back up the files from your computer. However, you can configure your backup preferences to make the process more efficient. Here’s how:
- Select “More options” under the “Automatically back up my files” button.
- A second window will open, allowing you to choose custom settings. You can change the backup interval from one hour, default, to something that works better for you. Such as daily backups.
- Select specific folders you want to back up.
How to Backup Windows 11 Using Backup and Restore Feature
All versions of Windows, including Windows 11, offer the “Backup and Restore” as a file maintenance solution. Setting up this form of backup utilizes the “Control Panel” instead of Windows 11 “Settings,” but the result is the same – your files are backed up and safely stored on an external hard drive.
Here’s everything you need to do:
- Make sure your external drive is connected and has enough storage space for the backup.
- Go to “Control Panel” and select the “System and Security” option.
- Select “Backup and Restore (Windows 7).”
- Click the “Set up backup” option located on the right side of the window.
- Enter your admin password if prompted.
- Select your external hard drive from the list of available drives and click “Next.”
- When a new window appears, choose what you want to back up or select the “Let Windows choose (recommended)” option and select “Next.”
- Click the “Save settings and run backup” button on the following window.
Keep in mind that the Windows 11 default backup time is Sunday 7 PM. Although, you can change that by clicking the “Change schedule” option before step 8.
Note: Don’t be confused by the “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” option. It doesn’t mean your Windows 11 reverts to Windows 7, but it represents an older Windows backup solution and that Microsoft is no longer developing it. However, for now, it still works and is available on Windows 11.
How to Backup Windows 11 Using System Image
While backing up an important document, music, pictures, and videos is vital, you also have to think about the .ISO files, also known as .ISO images.
These archive files are crucial for software installations, especially sizeable ones like Microsoft Office. The best way to keep these files safe is to create a system image backup. It takes only a few minutes if you take the following steps:
- Click the search button on Windows 11 taskbar and enter “Control Panel.”
- Launch the “Control Panel” and select “Backup and Restore (Windows 7).”
- Select the “Create a system image” option.
- Select where you want to save the files. Connecting an external drive is recommended, but you can also burn a DVD.
- Click “Next.”
The backup will be ready in no time, but you have to make sure to keep the external drive or DVD in a safe location.
How to Backup Windows 11 Preferences
If you have more than one Windows 11 computer, you can have nearly identical settings on both devices with a nifty backup feature.
Namely, Windows 11 allows you to back up specific OneDrive folders and have them available on other devices. Also, Windows 11 can remember language preferences, passwords, and other settings, so you don’t have to adjust them manually. Finally, with this feature, you can quickly access your apps on any Windows 11 device.
However, you first need to go through the following steps on the device from which you’re backing up the preferences:
- Go to the Start menu button and select “Settings.”
- Click the “Accounts” followed by “Windows backup.”
- Select the “Remember my preferences” option.
You need to make sure you’re logged into the same Microsoft account on the other Windows 11 computer to get access to saved preferences.
Also, Windows 11 doesn’t allow you to sync the theme, which is something Windows 10 users still have.
Windows 11 Backup Made Easy
Regardless of which backup solution you think is best for you, what matters is that you don’t forget to do it. When your computer is working correctly, it’s often too easy to forget about file backups.
It’s usually when something happens that panic mode ensues, and we regret not backing up the files. Fortunately, with regular backups, Windows 11 users can have the peace of mind they need should they run into a problem.
The OneDrive backup is the go-to option for many, but there are other excellent built-in solutions to consider. Furthermore, Windows 11 lets you back up preferences, passwords, and much more if you use more than one device.
What is your preferred way to back up Windows 11? Let us know in the comments section below.