How to Backup a Windows 10 Computer

Illustration of a Windows computer with a man behind holding a lock.

Backing up data is the best way to make sure that you will not lose it, whatever may happen to the device where you store the original data. Backing up data involves creating copies of your files and storing them on a hard drive, external storage device or cloud backup service. You have options when it comes to where you want to keep your backups.

Depending on your needs, you can choose to backup your entire hard drive or only specific files or folders on your device. It is also up to you to decide how often you want to backup your data. The more often you do it, the more secure your data is. The easiest way to do it is to set up automatic regular data backups.

The easiest way to backup files on your Windows 10 computer is to use the built-in software that came with the operating system. There are third-party backup options that offer better data security, but those options are not free.

Backup in Windows using File History

Windows 10 has a File History feature that automatically backs up specific file folders to a device of your choice. To set it up, connect an external storage device to your computer. After the device is connected, click the Start button and go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup. Then click Add a drive under the Back up using File History section and select an external data storage device or network location where you want to keep your backups.

Adding a drive for backupTo configure how often you want your data backed up, click the Start button and go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup. Now click More options and, at the top of the File History window, click the Back up my files drop-down menu and choose how often you want to backup your files. The options available to you range from every 10 minutes to daily.

Windows Backup more options

Setting up the backup frequency
To select the folders that you want backed up, click the Start button and go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup. Now scroll down the Backup options window to see and edit the default list of folders included in the backup. You can remove folders (click Remove button) from the list and add other folders (click Add a folder button) here.

Removing a folder in the backup options

Adding a folder to the backup

To finalize the setup and start the backup process, click Back up now at the top of the screen. After a backup finishes, Windows displays the size, date and time of the backup.

Starting the backup procedure

Backup in Windows using third-party apps

If you are not happy with backup options built into your Windows computer, you can always choose a third-party app such as Backblaze, Carbonite, Dropbox or Google Drive. When you shop for third-party backup software, make sure you trust it fully and understand how it handles your data. To set up a third-party backup app, follow the instructions that come with it.