How do I back up my entire PC to my external hard drive? (Windows 10)?

Update:

I bought an external hard drive to back up years worth of accumulated files and programs. Is there a specific way to properly back up a PC or is it just a matter of copy and pasting the internal drive to the external one?

6 Answers

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  • 3 weeks ago

    I just backup copy everything in the administrator folder, everything else is OS and system files. You log onto your computer with a user name, you only need back that up.

    There will be some system files in these folders (Not needed) so babysitting the copy it asks to copy or can't copy, select skip for those.

    Keep original installed software in a folder and back that up also.

    Your puter goes up in smoke, just install win 10 and copy the folders in the user to the appropriate location.

    Reminds me,,bout time I do that. If nothing,,no data loss.

    Just one method for backing up your data files, there are a few, like migration , system backup/restore etc.

    Note, you go cloning drives, your 500GB on a 2 TB drive will now be a 500 Gb drive, a real waste.

    • VP
      Lv 7
      3 weeks agoReport

      You should always install app/programs so that your system knows about them.  You can restore their user data files afterward.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Cloning software would make an exact duplicate where you could literally boot off the external drive if you pointed the bios to boot from that drive first. I think Windows 10 may have that ability. I usually use some form of Linux since it's free.

  • 4 weeks ago

    If all you want to save are files, and not programs, use the Backup Feature in Windows.  

  • Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    plug it in, go to the Control Panel and choose the Backup option.

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  • 4 weeks ago

    The easiest/simplest way is an image backup.  You can buy software for this but there's free software that works as well as anything you can buy. Macrium Reflect Free version.

    https://www.macrium.com/reflectfree

    You have to make (or should make) 'rescue media', that's a CD or DVD or zip drive that you can boot from.  You can do this with the software.  Then you boot from the CD or DVD or zip drive and it runs the software automatically.  It asks you which disk you want to back up, and which disk you want to write the backup to.  (Don't get this wrong!)

    If you copy/paste one drive to the other you won't get the boot files, so you won't be able to boot from it.

    • Let's just say I want to forget about my programs as I can redownload them later and just want to keep my files. Things like spreadsheets, powerpoints, documents, pictures, and videos. Would I need to follow the same process?

  • 4 weeks ago

    Restart your entire computer

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