How to backup Windows 10: Protect your files with this quick and easy tutorial

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Matthew Wilhelm Kapell
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In this age of constant online threats, it is extremely important to back up your files regularly. Fortunately, Windows 10 makes this easy with useful built-in tools that automatically back up all your important data (including documents, photos, music, and videos).

There are two ways to do this, one using the File History feature, the other OneDrive – for now, we'll start with the File History side. We'll also show you how to back up all your PC settings and programs so you can easily restore them if something goes wrong.

Backup protects your files by copying them to an additional location, which means you'll need storage connected to your PC before you begin. You can either use a network location to do this or grab an external hard drive. If you don't already have one, head over to our Expert Opinions partner site for buying advice.

How to Backup Your Files with Windows 10 File History

First, we'll show you how to use the File History feature in Windows 10. This lets you back up data to an external hard drive and then schedule automatic backups for that data.

  1. First, connect an external hard drive to your PC.
  2. Now open your start menu and click on Parameters.
  3. Then click Update and security.
  4. Then click Backup > Add Drive and select your external hard drive.
  5. Then switch the Automatically back up my files cursor, then click the More options link below. Now scroll down to Back up these folders section. You will see a list of folders that are set to be backed up by default. To remove folders from the list, click to select them, then click Remove. To add a folder you want to back up, click Add a folder, navigate to the folder you want, and then click Choose this folder.
  6. When done, click Save now. The first time you do this, the process may take a while (depending on the amount of data involved), but you can continue to use your PC as the backup takes place in the background.

Changing Autosave Intervals

If you don't want to worry about backing up your files, but prefer to do more than the default amount, follow this.

  1. When you're done editing your list, scroll to the top of the section. Click it Back up my files drop-down menu and select the regularity (from Every 10 minutes à daily).

Setting backup history

After starting the backup, you will want to set how long to keep the files.

  1. Click it Keep my backups drop-down menu and select how long you want to store your backups (from 1 months à Forever).

Restoring files from a backup

In the future, changes you make to files in folders you backed up will also be made to files on your hard drive (as long as it's connected to your PC). If your PC or any of your folders are corrupted, you can easily restore backed up data from your hard drive.

Here's how to restore a file from a backup.

  1. To do this, go to the Backup section (see Step 1) and click on the button More options link below Back up using File History.
  2. Then click Restore files from a current backup.
  3. You will now see your saved folders, press the button Ctrl on your keyboard, select the folders you want to restore, then click the Restore button.
  4. You will now see three options. If you want to replace all files in your PC folders with their backed up versions, select the first option. If you only want to replace missing files with their backed up versions, select Ignore these files. The third option lets you tick boxes to decide which files you want to restore.
  5. Click on Continue after selecting the option you want to use, follow the instructions.

File backups

Keeping a copy or two of your important files is always a must. Luckily, Windows 10 makes it easy to create a backup of those critical files you can't live without.

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