One minor incident like hard drive failure or virus attack, can ruin all important data that you have accumulated in the computer over the period of time. Although Windows already has built-in PC backup utility that automatically saves your data on a shared network or an external hard drive. Apart from that there are many third party, easy to use PC disaster recovery tools you can install on your computer to retrieve files. Let's learn how to set up local backup. This is good for immediate access to the files in case user accidentally overwrites a file or hard drive crashes, but you have to make sure that my pc backup is safe online somewhere because local backup is of no help in the case of computing device got stolen/lost/damaged due to natural disaster.
Window's backup utility is handy and easy to use, like online backup services users have to set this utility only once to get continuous and automatic backups of data files. User can hook up a shared network folder i.e: NAS or an external hard drive with bigger hard drive space than computer hard drive for backups. Windows 7 comes with backup tool know as Backup and Restore and in Windows 8 same tool is split into two parts: File History and a System Image tool. Now we will learn how to backup files to network drive or an external hard drive using Windows backup
In Windows 7, right-click on your drive and click on properties. Then click on the Tools tab and click the Back up now button. In Windows 8, go to start button and type "backup", choose "Save backup copies of your files with File History." In Windows 7 to start the setup process click on the "Set up backup" link in Backup and Restore and in Windows 8 Click the "Turn on" button in File History.
Windows OS will automatically search for attached drives to select or user can manually choose a location on the network. In Windows 7, click on the "Save on a network" button and in Windows 8, On the left side menu click on the "Select drive" link and choose a specific drive or location.
In Windows 7's Backup and Restore utility always asks user to select the folders that need to be backed up. In Windows 8's File History utility by default chooses in your Desktop, Contacts, Libraries (Downloads, Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos), and OneDrive folders and automatically saves the files. User has the freedom to exclude folders from the Libraries.
At times user want to customize the backup setting , user want to determine what, when and how often backup cycle should run. Thus they can customize the backup settings according their needs.
Backup schedule: In Windows 8, user can tweak backup settings in advanced settings in the left menu after turning on File History and in Windows 7, to adjust backup schedule go to "Change schedule" to change the schedule of backup to run.
Apart from that in both version user can change how much disk space to use for the offline cache.
Backup is only good if user can restore them when needed. At times users have impression that they have regularly taken a backup but when they try to retrieve the files, they felt devastated to discover the restoration cycle fails. (Some thing similar happened with animation company name Pixar, they almost accidentally deleted Toy Story 2 and later realized that all backups of the toy story 2 were not working-- except one on the home computer of technical director.) This is the main reason, we always advice users to have more than one backup, one on external drives and other on reliable online backup service.
Best strategy is to test your backups systematically and periodically, at least once a month by restoring a file or two.
Go to backup utility as discussed earlier. In windows 7 click on "Restore my files" button in the Backup and in Windows 8 in the left panel of the File History window, click on the "Restore personal files" link. Go to restore window.
In Windows 8, user can select the folders or files to restore by choosing the checkbox that in front of the folder or file when user hovers over them. By default, you will notice the latest versions of the folders, but when user click on the back arrows they can find the earlier saved versions as well.
In both versions of Windows, It will ask user to replace the file, skip this process, or compare the files so user can reach a decision.
A system image is an exact copy or "snapshot" of everything of computer hard drive, including Windows OS files, system settings, all installed programs, and all other saved data files. With the help of system image if hard drive or entire computer stops functioning, user can restore each and everything back the way it was. Three important facts about PC disaster recovery are:
1. Open the system image tool.
For windows 7, in search box type "backup" and click OK. In the left panel, click on create a system image in Windows 7 and System Image Backup in Windows 8.
User can save the image on a DVDs, external drive, or a network drive. If in case user chooses network location, Windows will give an alert message that the backed up image "cannot be securely protected for a network target." All it means other users who have the access to network drive could access your system image.
Click on the "Start backup" button to initiate the process of creating system image.
At the end of the process, Windows will give the option to create a recovery disk on a DVD or CD. This will help in booting windows computer using the recovery disk and repair Windows for serious error.
System image help the user to recover your entire computer. As discussed this will replace the whole content of computer with the settings, programs and files preserved in the system image.
1. Go to recovery tool.
In the Windows 8, click on start, search for "PC settings", click on “Update and recovery" link in the left pane and then the "Recovery" link.
In Windows 7, click on Start button, search for "recovery", and click "Recovery."
2. Open the advanced recovery option. To restore from the image, go to advanced recovery settings in Windows 8. Click the "Restart now" button under advanced startup.
3. In Windows 7, click "Advanced recovery methods." Recover using the system image.
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