How to Backup PC Files on Windows using Free Backup Software

how to backup pc files

This tutorial will show you step by step how to backup PC files on Windows 7, 8 or 10 in a few different ways using free backup software.

You can back up your files to an external hard drive, USB flash drive, DVD, or an online server, such as a cloud storage service (e.g. Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox) or an online backup service (e.g. BackBlaze or Carbonite).

You should use multiple backup methods for your important files.

What is the Best Way to Backup your Files?

The best way to backup your files is to use multiple backup methods and create "Onsite" and "Offsite" backups.

"Onsite" backups are stored on a local storage device, such as an external hard drive, USB flash drive, or DVD.

"Offsite" backups are stored on an online server, such as a cloud storage service (e.g. Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox) or an online backup service (e.g. BackBlaze or Carbonite).

What is the Best Free File Backup Software for Windows 7, 8 and 10?

  • AOMEI Backupper Standard
  • EaseUS Todo Backup Free
  • Backup and Sync from Google

Why is it Important to Backup your Data (Files)?

You should always backup your important data to prevent losing your data.

There are many ways you can lose your data, such as:

  • Hardware failure: Your data can be corrupted or wiped out by a hardware problem (computer or hard drive).
  • Theft: Someone can steal your computer.
  • Mistake: You can accidentally delete a file.
  • Ransomware: This type of malware can block access to your data by encrypting it.
  • Disaster: Your computer can be destroyed by a tornado, tsunami, flood or in a fire.
  • Software malfunction: Your data can be corrupted or wiped out by a software malfunction.
  • Malware: Malware (e.g. computer virus) can destroy or damage your data.

That's why it is important to backup your data (files).

Why do we need to Backup Data?

You should always backup your important data to prevent losing your data.

There are many ways you can lose your data, such as:

  • Hardware failure: Your data can be corrupted or wiped out by a hardware problem (computer or hard drive).
  • Theft: Someone can steal your computer.
  • Mistake: You can accidentally delete a file.
  • Ransomware: This type of malware can block access to your data by encrypting it.
  • Disaster: Your computer can be destroyed by a tornado, tsunami, flood or in a fire.
  • Software malfunction: Your data can be corrupted or wiped out by a software malfunction.
  • Malware: Malware (e.g. computer virus) can destroy or damage your data.

That's why we need to backup our data.

What is a Data Backup?

A data backup is a copy and archive of computer data that can be used to restore the original data after a data loss event.

What are the Different Types of Backups?

  • Full backup
  • Incremental backup
  • Differential backup

What is a Full Backup?

A full backup makes a copy of all selected data. It's the starting point for all other backups and contains all the data in the folders and files that are selected to be backed up.

What is a Incremental Backup?

An incremental backup makes a copy of the data that has changed since the last backup, whether it was a full backup or an incremental backup.

What is a Differential Backup?

A differential backup makes a copy of the data that has changed or been added since the last full backup.

What is the Difference between Incremental and Differential Backups?

A differential backup makes a copy of the data that has changed or been added since the last full backup and an incremental backup makes a copy of the data that has changed since the last backup, whether it was a full backup or an incremental backup. Each differential backup will be larger than the last differential backup and to restore your data you will only need the full backup and the latest differential backup. Incremental backups are smaller, but to restore your data you will need the full backup and all incremental backups, which will take longer to restore your data.

How to Backup Data using AOMEI Backupper Standard

AOMEI Backupper Standard is a free backup program that can be used to back up files and folders, hard drives, and even a system partition.

The program's interface is so user-friendly that even beginners will have their system and data backed up in no time.

AOMEI Backupper Standard

I like the simplicity of the program and use it daily to backup my data.

You can download AOMEI Backupper Standard here.

Tips:

1. Assign a Permanent (Static) Drive Letter to Your USB Drive

Windows will automatically assign a drive letter to any drive you connect to your PC.

This can cause problems with backup tools, because these tools require the same drive letter every time.

That's why it's a good idea to first assign a permanent drive letter to the external hard drive or USB flash drive you want to use to backup your files.

To change drive letters of drives, you can use the Disk Management tool built into Windows.

1. Insert the external hard drive or USB flash drive into your PC.

2. Open Windows "Disk Management".

Three ways to open "Disk Management":

3. Right-click the USB drive to which you want to assign a persistent drive letter and then click "Change Drive Letter and Paths".

windows disk management change drive letter and paths option

A "Change Drive Letter and Paths for ..." window will appear.

4. Click on the "Change" button.

5. At "Assign the following drive letter", you select a drive letter between M and Z, because earlier drive letters may still get assigned to other drives.

Drive letters M till Z are almost never used on most Windows systems.

6. When you're done, you click on "OK".

Now you will get the following warning "Some programs that rely on drive letters might not run correctly. Do you want to continue?".

7. Click on "Yes".

The new drive letter is now assigned to the drive.

8. Close "Disk Management".

2. Full Backup

You will first need to create a full backup and when you add, delete or change files, then you can update your backup by creating an incremental or differential backup.

Note: If you want to backup to an external hard drive, USB flash drive, CD or DVD, then connect the device to your PC or insert the disc into the CD/DVD station of your PC.

1. Open AOMEI Backupper Standard.

2. Click on "Backup" located in the left menu.

3. Click on "File Backup".

make a file backup using aomei backupper standard

4. At "Task Name", you can enter a name for your backup.

5. Click on "Add File" or "Add Folder".

add file or folder in aomei backupper standard

As example I will use "Add Folder", because I think that most people will want to back up multiple files at once and then it will be a good idea to place all files in a folder (with maybe subfolders).

6. When the "select folder" dialog appears, you click on the "Browse" button.

7. Select the folder you want to backup and click on "Open".

8. If the folder contains subfolders, then check the box located next to "Include subfolders".

include subfolders in aomei backupper standard

9. Click on "OK".

10. Click on "Step 2".

11. Select the location where you want to save your backup.

This can be a location on your PC, or an external hard drive, USB flash drive, CD or DVD, or even a NAS network location.

12. When you're ready, you click on the "Start Backup" button.

AOMEI Backupper Standard will now backup your files. This may take a few seconds or minutes. The time it takes depends on the size of your backup.

Tip: When the backup process is running, you can check the box located next to the "Check backup integrity on completion" option to make sure the backup image is valid for restore.

13. When the backup is finished, you click on the "Finish" button.

Your backup will appear on the home screen of AOMEI Backupper Standard, so that you can easily and quickly manage your backup.

3. Update Backup

If you've added, deleted or changed files, then you can update your backup by creating an incremental or differential backup.

Note: If your backup is stored on an external hard drive, USB flash drive, CD or DVD, then connect the device to your PC or insert the disc into the CD/DVD station of your PC.

1. Open AOMEI Backupper Standard.

On the "Home" screen you will see the backup(s) you've made with AOMEI Backupper Standard and here you can manage your backup(s).

2. Go with your mouse cursor (pointer) on the backup you want to update.

3. Click on the "Backup" button and choose "Incremental Backup" or "Differential Backup".

create incremental or differential backup with aomei backupper standard

What is the difference between an incremental backup and a differential backup?.

I make an incremental backup every evening, and a full backup once a month.

4. A small "Comments" dialog will appear and here you can enter a comment if you want.

5. When you're ready, you click on the "Start Backup" button.

AOMEI Backupper Standard will now backup your files. This may take a few seconds or minutes. The time it takes depends on the size of your backup.

Tip: When the backup process is running, you can check the box located next to the "Check backup integrity on completion" option to make sure the backup image is valid for restore.

6. When the backup is finished, you click on the "Finish" button.

How to Backup Data using EaseUS Todo Backup Free

You can download EaseUS Todo Backup Free here.

Tips:

1. Assign a Permanent (Static) Drive Letter to Your USB Drive

Windows will automatically assign a drive letter to any drive you connect to your PC.

This can cause problems with backup tools, because these tools require the same drive letter every time.

That's why it's a good idea to first assign a permanent drive letter to the external hard drive or USB flash drive you want to use to backup your files.

To change drive letters of drives, you can use the Disk Management tool built into Windows.

1. Insert the external hard drive or USB flash drive into your PC.

2. Open Windows "Disk Management".

Three ways to open "Disk Management":

3. Right-click the USB drive to which you want to assign a persistent drive letter and then click "Change Drive Letter and Paths".

windows disk management change drive letter and paths option

A "Change Drive Letter and Paths for ..." window will appear.

4. Click on the "Change" button.

5. At "Assign the following drive letter", you select a drive letter between M and Z, because earlier drive letters may still get assigned to other drives.

Drive letters M till Z are almost never used on most Windows systems.

6. When you're done, you click on "OK".

Now you will get the following warning "Some programs that rely on drive letters might not run correctly. Do you want to continue?".

7. Click on "Yes".

The new drive letter is now assigned to the drive.

8. Close "Disk Management".

2. Full Backup

You will first need to create a full backup and when you add, delete or change files, then you can update your backup by creating an incremental or differential backup.

Note: If you want to backup to an external hard drive, USB flash drive, CD or DVD, then connect the device to your PC or insert the disc into the CD/DVD station of your PC.

1. Open EaseUS Todo Backup Free.

2. Click on "File Backup" located in the top menu.

3. In the top left panel, you select the file(s) and/or folder(s) you want to backup.

select files and folders in easeus todo backup free

4. At "Destination", you can view, select or change the location where EaseUS Todo Backup Free will save your backup.

This can be a location on your PC, or an external hard drive, USB flash drive, CD or DVD, or even a NAS network location.

To change this location, click on the folder icon, select a location and then click on "OK".

5. At "Plan name", you can enter a name for your backup.

6. When you're ready, you click on the "Proceed" button.

EaseUS Todo Backup Free will now backup your files. This may take a few seconds or minutes. The time it takes depends on the size of your backup.

3. Update Backup

If you've added, deleted or changed files, then you can update your backup by creating an incremental or differential backup.

Note: If your backup is stored on an external hard drive, USB flash drive, CD or DVD, then connect the device to your PC or insert the disc into the CD/DVD station of your PC.

1. Open EaseUS Todo Backup Free.

On the start screen you will see the backup(s) you've made with EaseUS Todo Backup Free and here you can manage your backup(s).

2. Click on "Backup" (located next to the backup you want to update) and choose "Incremental Backup" or "Differential Backup".

make a incremental or differential backup with easeus todo backup free

What is the difference between an incremental backup and a differential backup?.

I make an incremental backup every evening, and a full backup once a month.

EaseUS Todo Backup Free will now backup your files. This may take a few seconds or minutes. The time it takes depends on the size of your backup.

How to Backup Data using Backup and Sync from Google

Backup and Sync will backup and sync your files with Google Drive.

The "Backup and Sync" application replaces both the Google's Drive and Photos desktop applications.

What I like about this program is, that, as soon as you add or update a file, it automatically and directly syncs (uploads or updates) the file with Google Drive.

You can download Backup and Sync from Google here.

Setup

1. Open Backup and Sync from Google.

2. Sign in with your Google account.

Note: if you're having problems signing in, then click on the "Sign in with your browser instead" link located at the bottom right of the window.

3. Select the folders you want to backup.

4. You will the following optional options:

5. Click on the "NEXT" button located at the bottom right.

6. On the next screen you will have a few more settings – which you can set however you want it.

7. When you're ready, you click on the "START" button.

Backup and Sync from Google will now automatically and directly sync your data with Google Drive.

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