PC Backup Guide

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PC Backup Service

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.


Always Remember the 3-2-1 Golden Rule of PC Backups

  • Always have 3 copies of important files
    1. Original on the computer
    2. Second copy on a external hard drive
    3. Third copy backed on remote cloud server
  • Always use 2 dissimilar kinds of media to back up the data i.e backing up both on optical media or a hard drive in not ideal way. One should use hard drive and magnetic tape to take a PC disaster recovery as they are more reliable and easier to automate.
  • Always Store 1 copy of data on online backup server for PC backup i.e Docusaver.co.nz

Let's Learn more about Window's inbuilt backup utility

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

Step 1: Open the backup utility

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.



PC backup - Backup Utility

Step 2: Select the location to save the backed up files

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.



Save the Backed up Files

Step3: Choose the folders to back up

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.



Step 4: Optional: Tweak your settings

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.



PC Backup - Backup Schedule

Apart from that in both version user can change how much disk space to use for the offline cache.



Let's Restore Files from a Backup

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.


  • 1. Go to Windows backup and restore utility

    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.

  • 2. Select the folders or file, user want to retrieve in the 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.

    PC Backup Service - File History

  • 3. What to do if file with same name already exist

    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.

    PC Backup Online - Replace or Skip Files

How to Create System Image of Computer in Windows

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:

  • User can't restore a single file or folder using restoration because this will replace all the files using image. For single file, backup and restore is more useful.
  • User can not have more then only one image at a time, only one system image will be usable on the drive; any former system image will be over written. However, user can copy and save an existing image folder to a different location before creating the new image.
  • Windows backup tool does not give the liberty to schedule system images creation.

Let learn to create the Windows system image.

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.

System Image Tool

2. Select where to save the image

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.



Create a System Image

3. Confirm the backup settings and create a system repair disk

Click on the "Start backup" button to initiate the process of creating system image.



Online Backup - Backup Location

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.


Steps to Restore Windows using System Image Backup

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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