How to Backup and Restore in Windows 11

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This post shows students and new users how to backup and restore important files and folders in Windows 11

The new Windows 11 comes with many cool features and refreshing new graphical interface, including centered Start menu and taskbar, rounded corners windows, themes and colors that make any Windows device stand out.

One thing you can do with Windows 11 is using its built-in backup and restore tool to protect your important files.

To backup your file in Windows 11 simply means making copy of your file and storing them somewhere for safekeeping. In the event you lose the original file on the computer, you can go to restore the file from the backup location.

It’s always good to have a backup copies of your important files. Keep copies of your files on another drive in case something happens to the originals — on an external hard disk, for example. A good location to store backup file is on a USB drive, external hard drive, CD/DVD or an online storage.

When you’re ready to start backing up your files in Windows 11, follow the steps below.

How to Back up your Files

The easiest way of back up your files is to let Windows manage the backup process for you. A number of different backup applications are available, but Windows 11 comes with a built-in tool that can help you backup your files.

Alternatively, you can manually copy the file to a backup location instead of using an application. However, allowing Windows to automatically backup your important files might be your best option.

What to backup

Your priority should be to backup important files as well as those that would be difficult to replace. Your personal files like documents, emails, financial documents, family photos and others that would be irreplaceable.

Other less important data would be your profile settings, installed software and system settings. These you can replace, but you’ll have to spend sometime on setting things back to the way there were.

Backup files to OneDrive online

There are many ways to backup Windows. However, the easiest might be setting up and backing up to OneDrive online storage. OneDrive lets you save your files and photos and access them from any device, anywhere.

You need a Microsoft account to setup OneDrive on your machine. Simply go to the link below to create a Microsoft Account.

Sign in – Microsoft OneDrive (live.com)

You can signup for free and are given free 5GB storage space. You can always upgrade to larger sizes when you need more storage space.

Once you’re signed up and ready, continue below to setting up Windows backup.

Windows 11 has a centralized location for majority of its settings. From system configurations to creating new users and updating Windows, all can be done from its System Settings pane.

To get to System Settings, you can use the Windows key + i shortcut or click on Start ==> Settings as shown in the image below:

windows 11 settings button

Alternatively, you can use the search box on the taskbar and search for Settings. Then select to open it.

Windows Settings pane should look similar to the image below. In Windows Settings, click System, then select Storage on the right pane of your screen shown in the image below.

windows 11 system storage

On the System storage settings page, click on Advanced storage settings.

advanced storage settings

Under Advanced storage settings, select Backup options.

advanced storage backup options

On the Backup options settings page, choose the option to Back up files to OneDrive. Then click on the link that reads “Sign in to OneDrive“.

windows 11 backup to onedrive storage

You’ll be prompted to enter your OneDrive account email address and password to sign in.

onedrive backup setup in windows 11

After correctly logging into your OneDrive account, you should continue with the setup wizard.

setup onedrive on windows 11

When you’re done with the setup wizard, you should see similar screen below telling you that OneDrive is ready to use and setup is complete.

onedrive is ready to use in windows

Backup Windows 11 to External Drives

You can also backup Windows to external drives and restore them if the original are lost, damaged, or delete. Insert or connect the external drive into your computer.

In Windows Settings –> System –> Storage –> Advanced Backup options, select Back up using File History instead of going to OneDrive as mentioned above.

windows 11 backup to external drives

Once you click the Add a drive button, you’ll be prompted to select the external drive to back up to. Choose the drive you have connected to Windows.

When you select a drive, all is set. Every hour, Windows will back up everything in your user folder (C:\Users\username). To change which files get backed up or how often backups happen, go to More options.

windows 11 backup external drive on

More options give lets you set up how and when files are backup.

windows 11 backup to external media

When you’re done, save and exit.

Conclusion:

This post showed you how to backup in Windows 11. If you find any error above, please use the comment form below to report.

15 Comments

  1. The Backup from file history option doesn’t show in windows 11 build 22000.71
    You need to make some suggestions to do so.
    Good article

    1. I typed “File History” in the search window, and it was there.

      1. kevo riel tarray

        thank you!

  2. Hi Richard,
    Nice Article!
    Which OS build are you using? In my case that Looking for older backup and windows 7 link is missing.

    1. I’m using Windows 11 Insider Preview.

  3. I also miss these options, I cannot access anymopre my backup settings, but the backup is obviously running

    Edition Windows 11 Home
    Version 21H2
    Installed on ‎30.‎7.‎21
    OS build 22000.100
    Serial number PF1XY79J
    Experience Windows Feature Experience Pack 421.18901.0.3

    1. Try searching fore File History.

      1. I can find File History, but I can not see the option where I can set up a new external device to save all my files.

  4. Ralph A Gardner

    I don’t see File History in Windows 11 Insider Preview Home. I guess I will have to find some other software to make a backup.
    Experience: Windows 11 Home
    Version: 21H2
    OS Build: 22000.120
    Experience: Windows Feature Experience Pack 1000.22000.120.0

  5. Wilfried Wedemeyer

    The options shown to backup with file history to a drive of your choice are not shown in my preview version of Windows 11. Current version is 22000.132. Will these options be available in further updates?

  6. There is NO Back Up Using File History Option!

  7. The title is a bit misleading. It’s not really the backup type most ppl will be looking for.

    Based on the given “solution” you can simply copy the files to USB or External Drive or upload to cloud, the feature shown is pretty much useless unless you paid for OneDrive and you have a ton of space in there.

    What I did to backup:
    Search -> Control Panel -> “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” under System and Security, idk why it says Win7 though, but it basically backed up my whole OS I suppose.

    Haven’t tried to Recover yet but I hope it will restore the Win 11 properly. Will reply to my own comment if it worked.

    Another option is to create .ISO of current OS build w/ all software, saved passwords and such but that could take 100GB+ USB Drive/Phone Memory ( if using phone as USB drive w/ DriveDroid app )

    The last and best solution is to Mirror the drive to another drive using Linux.

  8. for those who do not find the option, look in the search box – file history – a window opens with the files, on the right there is the icon for setting the option. It’s hidden but it’s still there.

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