Windows 10 File History Backups and Manual Backups
Whether you use a spiffy backup program to back up your files or you back up your files manually, we cannot impress upon you enough the importance of keeping good backups – especially when it comes to your precious personal files. You can reinstall Windows and you can reinstall your programs, but you cannot reinstall those precious pictures of your kids or grandkids – or copies of your income tax returns.
Windows 10 File History
Windows File History does a pretty good job of backing up all your personal files. While it does not create an image backup, image backups are not nearly as important as they once were because Windows 10 now makes it easy to reset your computer and reinstall Windows, get a Fresh start, or do a repair installation.
And if need be, you can also download a copy of Windows 10 anytime and make an installation DVD or USB. And we know a lot of you want to know: No, you don’t have to keep making new installation DVDs or USBs every time there’s a new version of Windows 10. Even if you use an old Windows 10 installation disk or USB to install Windows 10, during installation Windows will always check for and download whatever updates you need to make sure the Windows 10 your Windows installation is current.
So, if you want to make simple automatic backups of your personal files (pictures, documents, music, videos, etc.) turn on File History.
To turn on File History – make sure you have an external drive with sufficient space to back up your files and folders and make sure it is plugged in.
- Right-click the Start button, then click “Settings” (or open settings using Windows key + i)
- In Settings click on Update & Security >Backup
- Under “Backup” “Back up using File History” click the large plus sign and select your external drive.
We find that the default settings work pretty well, but click “More options” if you want to fine-tune your File History backup.
Manually Backup All of Your Personal Files
There’s nothing wrong with manually backing up your personal files. The biggest problem with manual backups is not the backups themselves, but forgetting to do them.
The simpler you make manual backups the more likely it is you’ll remember to do them. No one wants to waste hours making manual backups or dig around wondering what folders and files you need to back up.
You could waste time and dig around and backup your Pictures folder, Documents folder, Music folder, Videos folder, etc. but that’s a lot of work and you still won’t be backing up all your personal files.
But if you back up just one folder, “Users” folder, located at C:\Users\**Your-Username**\ you’ll be backing up all of the following:
The AppData folder. (The AppData folder is used for storing user-specific settings. for installed apps. The AppData folder has three subfolders: AppData/Roaming, AppData/Local and AppData Locallow. AppData also contains bookmarks and other browser settings and sometimes email messages and email program settings.)
So don’t make it hard on yourself and waste your time backing up many different individual folders. Just backup C:\Users\**Your Username** and you’ll have all your files and more all in one big folder.
The easiest way to copy C:\Users\**Your Username** folder to an external drive is to add “Copy to” and “Move to” to your right-click menu. Then all you have to do is right-click on your Users folder and choose “Copy to” and select your external drive. Easy peasy!
Learn how to add “Copy to” & “Move to” to your right-click menu by reading this article.