How to Backup to External Hard Drive in Windows 7
How to Backup to External Hard Drive in Windows 7

Backing Up your Precious Data is the Most Important Job You Can Do on a Computer

Most people do not back up their data.  One of the major reasons  is because they do not know how, or  it is all to hard to do, and do not want to make the effort to find out how.  Well for just that reason we have present you with an 'Easy to Follow' set of instructions, so that you can run your own backup, and have peace of mind.  The following tutorial is based on Windows 7, and utilises the inbuilt backup software in Control Panel that already comes with the system.  If you are using Vista, the process is almost identical, and you should be able to use this same tutorial.

How to Back Up your Data to External Drive using Windows 7

1. First, make sure you have an External Hard Drive or a USB Memory Stick  (USB Flash Drive, USB Thumb Drive) and that it is plugged into your computer.
2. Open Control Panel.  This can be done by clicking on the Start Button, and selecting the Control Panel as shown in the screen print below


3. Once you have opened Control Panel, under ‘System and Security', there will be an icon saying ‘Back up your computer', click it.


4. Once you click ‘Back up your computer', it will come up with a screen similar or identical to the one below, click ‘Set up backup'.

5. When you click ‘Set up backup', it will come up with a loading screen saying ‘Starting Windows Backup', this may take several minutes to complete depending on the speed of your computer.


6. When this has finished loading, select the drive you want to backup to and click Next. In this tutorial, we will be using a drive called ‘Backup Drive', yours may be different, make sure you select the right drive.  Normally the USB drive will nearly always be the highest drive letter, (the last one bottom of the list):


7. When you click Next, a screen will pop up giving you two options, ‘Let Windows Choose' and ‘Let Me Choose'. I recommend ‘Let Windows Choose' as it backs up your whole C: drive, including all documents, e-mails and your Windows folder so you can restore your files if you need too at a later date.


8. Once you have clicked next, it will pop up with a screen saying ‘Review your backup settings'. Click ‘Save settings and run backup'
9. When you have clicked ‘Save settings and run backup', it will come up with a screen similar to below.  While the Backup is running, do not open any programs, just leave this screen, until the backup is complete.  Then you can close this window.

Don't forget to go to your External Backup Drive, and check their is a folder names "Backup of C:", and that the folder contains files.  Note, do not expect to see the same filenames as is on your C drive, as the files have been compacted and archived, and will carry different looking file names.


How to Restore your Files from a Backup

If you are wanting to restore files from your External Hard drive, and you have used the method of backing up, as described above, then follow these steps.

1. Click on the Start Button, and select 'Control Panel', and simply click ‘Restore my files', as shown below:


2. When you have clicked ‘Restore my files', a popup box will come up, click ‘Browse for folders'.

3. When you have clicked ‘Browse for folders', Click ‘Backup of C:' and click add folder.


4. Once you have clicked add folder, click Next on the page that comes up.

5. On the next page, you will be asked where you would like to restore your files to. If you have recently reinstalled Windows and would like to have all your files put back in exactly the same place, select ‘In the original location'. If you would like the files to be put in a backup folder on your computer, select ‘In the following location' then click Browse and navigate to where you would like to save the backup folder (in this example we created a folder called Old Backup on C drive). Once you have done this, click ‘Restore', this will begin to transfer the files back on to your hard drive.


6. When you click ‘Restore', it will begin restoring your files to the location you chose. It will look something like this:


7.  Once the restore process is finished, you can then open the 'Computer' icon from your desktop, or from your start menu, and select C: Drive.  You can then select the folder names "Old Backup" (or whatever you chose to name your restored files folder in Step 5), and then you can navigate to the files you need.  Alternatively if in Step 5 you chose to restore the files to their original location, then simply navigate to your desired folder, ie Documents, Pictues, to view your recovered files.

This now completes the "How to Backup to External Hard Drive in Windows 7" Tutorial.



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