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How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Windows can create “system image backups,” which are essentially complete images of your hard drive and all the files on it. Once you’ve got a system image backup, you can restore your system exactly as it was when you backed up, even if your installation is badly corrupted or completely gone.

Windows contains many different backup tools. Most people won’t want to use this feature at all, and should just back up files with File History or another file-backup tool. But enthusiasts or system administrators who want to create a complete image of a system at one point in time will appreciate and use system image backups.

Your System Image Backup Can’t Be Restored On Another PC

You can’t restore a Windows system image backup on a different PC. Your Windows installation is tied to your PC’s specific hardware, so this only works for restoring a computer to its previous state.

While you can’t restore a system image backup on another PC, you can extract individual files from a system image backup. Microsoft says it’s not possible to extract individual files from a system image backup, and they don’t provide an easy tool to do so — but they’re just standard VHD (virtual hard disk) image files that you can “mount” and copy files from using File Explorer or Windows Explorer.

Be sure to connect the drive containing the system image backups to your computer before continuing.

How to Create a System Image Backup

Creating system image backups is still fairly simple. On Windows 7, it’s integrated with the normal backup tool. On Windows 8.1 and 10, just open the File History backup window in the control panel. You’ll see a “System Image Backup” link, which will open the “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” tool. Click the “Create a system image” link to create a system image.

There’s a good chance your system image backup will be quite large, so you’ll want to have a large drive to put it on. An external USB hard drive is ideal.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

How to Restore Your Backup from the Control Panel (Windows 7 Only)

If Windows is still working properly, you can do this right from the Windows desktop. However, this option only appears to be present on Windows 7. It was removed in Windows 8, 8.1, and 10.

To do this, open the Control Panel and locate the “Backup and Restore” panel. You can just search for “backup” in the Control Panel to find it. At the bottom of the window, click the “Recover system settings or your computer” link. Click “Advanced Recovery Methods” in the window that appears and then click the “Use a system image you created earlier to recover your computer” link.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

How to Restore Your Backup Through Windows’ Startup Options (7, 8, and 10)

You can also restore your image from a special boot recovery menu. This is the easiest way to restore images on Windows 10 or 8.1, as the option to restore a system image is no longer available from the desktop.

On Windows 10 or 8.1, hold down the “Shift” key on your keyboard and click the “Restart” option in the Start menu or Start screen. If your computer isn’t booting properly, Windows will automatically boot to this menu after a failed boot. If it doesn’t, then even the startup options themselves are corrupted.

Your computer will boot to the special recovery menu. Click the “Troubleshoot” tile, click “Advanced Options,” and then click “System Image Recovery.”

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

On Windows 7, reboot the computer and press the “F8” key while it’s booting. Select the “Repair Your Computer” option and press Enter to boot into recovery mode.

Choose your keyboard layout when asked, and then select the “Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier” option in the System Recovery Options window. Select a system image from a connected drive and go through the rest of the wizard to restore it.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

How to Restore Your Backup with a Recovery Drive

If you’ve created a recovery drive, you can boot from a recovery drive and restore your image from there, too. This is the only way to restore images when Windows can’t boot at all, or if Windows isn’t currently installed on the PC. If you haven’t created a recovery drive yet, you can create a recovery drive on another Windows PC that’s currently working properly and take it to your current PC.

Insert the recovery drive and boot from it. This may require changing the boot order in your computer’s BIOS or accessing a “boot devices” menu.

On Windows 10 or 8.1, you’ll see the same options you would in the boot options above. Just select Advanced Options > System Image Recovery. On Windows 7, select the “System Image Recovery” link.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

How to Restore Your Backup from Windows Installation Media

If you have a Windows installation disc or flash drive lying around, you can boot from it and restore a system image. This will work even if Windows isn’t currently installed on the PC. If you don’t have any installation media lying around, you can create a Windows installer USB drive or DVD on another Windows PC and take it to your current PC.

Boot from the Windows installation media like you would the recovery drive above. Just as if you were booting from a recovery drive, this may require changing the boot order in your computer’s BIOS or accessing a “boot devices” menu.

Whatever type of installation disc you’re using, go through the first few screens until you reach a screen with an “Install now” button. Ignore that button and click the “Repair your computer” link at the bottom-left corner of the window to access the same system repair tools you’d access from a recovery drive or from the boot-up menu above.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

System images are a very useful way to restore your entire PC exactly as it was when you backed up, although they aren’t for everyone. They aren’t even for most Windows users — that’s why Microsoft even tried to remove this option back in the development versions of Windows 8.1 before succumbing to pressure from enthusiasts and restoring the feature.

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Windows 8 offered support for restoring Windows 7 backups, but Microsoft removed this feature in Windows 8.1. There’s still a way to restore your files from Windows 7 backups on Windows 8.1, but it’ll take more work. Microsoft saw the error of their ways and this is now easier on Windows 10.

Windows 8.1 does offer support for restoring system image backups, but that won’t help if you’ve just used Windows Backup on Windows 7 to create backup copies of your important files. Backups can be complicated on Windows.

(If you have a Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC lying around, you can also connect that drive to the computer running an older copy of Windows and restore the important files from the backup, placing them on an external drive and carrying them to your new PC.)

The Easy Method for Windows 10

After removing the easy Windows 7 restore tool from Windows 8.1, Microsoft put it back in Windows 10. Just open the Control Panel, select “System and Security,” and choose “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)”. Click “Select another backup to restore files from” and you’ll be able to easily restore your Windows 7 backups.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Locate the Backups

First, connect the drive containing your Windows 7 backups to your Windows 8.1 PC. You’ll see a file folder with the name of the PC the backups are from alongside a “MediaID.bin” file. Double-click the file folder with the name of your Windows 7 PC to open it.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

You’ll see one or more folders named “Backup Set YEAR-MM-DD ######”. Each “Backup Set” folder is a separate backup. Locate the one with the date and time you want to restore your files from. If you just want to restore from the last backup, choose the most recent folder.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

You’ll then see one or more folders named “Backup Files YEAR-MM-DD ######” alongside a “Catalogs” folder. Each “Backup Files” folder is an incremental backup of the same overall backup. For example, the oldest Backup Files folder here is the first backup you performed. The second “Backup Files” folder contains only the changes made from between the time you ran the first and second backups.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Extract the Backups

Inside each separate “Backup Files” folder, you’ll see multiple “Backup files #.zip” archives containing your backed up files. If you feel particularly masochistic, you can open each zip file one by one, examine it to see if it contains the file you want, and hopefully extract that file. But there’s no good way of telling exactly which .zip file contains the file you want, and you probably want more than one file anyway.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Instead, we recommend using a file-extraction program like 7-Zip. Once you’ve installed it, you can select all the .zip files, right-click them, and select 7-Zip > Extract files. 7-Zip will extract all the files from the archives you selected, getting all the files backed up when you performed that backup.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Extract them to a specific folder, such as a folder named “Windows 7 Backups” on your desktop.

Repeat this process for each individual Backup Files folder. Remember that each Backup Files folder is an incremental backup. So, when you extract the .zip files from the first folder, you’re getting all the files that existed when you first backed up, at the state they were in that backup. When you extract the files from the second backup file folder, you’re getting all the new or changed files.

Consider extracting each set of incremental backups to the same folder, from oldest to newest, overwriting any duplicate files. As long as you do this in the correct order, you should end up with a single folder structure containing only the most recent versions of your files.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Dig Through Your Backups

You’ll still have to dig through the backups afterwards, deleting any files you no longer want, as deleted files will still be present. You’ll be able to extract your important files from the backups afterwards.

To do this, head to the folder you extracted the backups to and dig in. The folder structure is obvious — there will likely be a C folder representing your C drive, a Users folder representing your Users folder, and folders for each Windows user account you backed up from. if you backed up from other folders on your Windows 7 PC, you’ll find folders representing them as well.

Dig through your files, grabbing any personal files and other data you think is important. Delete any files you no longer need — depending on your backups, you may have lots of old deleted files lying around. Be sure not to get rid of your Windows 7 backup drive before you’ve verified you have all the important files you need and that they’re all the most recent, current versions.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

When you’re done, consider getting rid of the Windows 7 backups and setting up File History, the new backup system used by Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

This process can be a bit tedious because there’s no fancy interface for restoring files. Windows 7’s restore utility normally uses the extra metadata files here to restore your backups in a more intelligent way. However, all your files are thankfully stored inside standard .zip files so you can extract them manually if you need to. You should only have to do this once, when moving from Windows 7 to a Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 PC.

As a bonus, you can also restore Windows 7 backups on a Mac or Linux PC in a similar way — plug it in and extract the backup files from the .zip files.

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Windows 8 has a new File History backup system that replaces Windows 7’s backup tools. However, Windows 8 still contains the Windows 7 backup tools. They’re particularly useful for creating full system image backups.

These tools are considered deprecated and probably won’t be there in future versions of Windows. Microsoft would prefer you use the File History and Refresh features instead.

Accessing the Windows 7 Backup Tools

The Windows 7 backup tools are hidden and won’t appear in searches for “backup” or similar phrases.

To access them, press the Windows key and search for backup. Select the Settings category and open the Save backup copies of your files with File History window.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Click the Windows 7 File Recovery option hidden in the bottom-left corner of the File History window.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

You’ll see the familiar Windows 7 backup interface, now named “Windows 7 File Recovery.” It works just like you remember it working in Windows 7, although Microsoft recommends you don’t use both features at the same time. You can’t enable File History if you already have a Windows 7 backup schedule enabled.

To quickly access this window, you can also search for recovery and select Windows 7 File Recovery.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Creating a Full System Backup

Unlike the Windows 8 backup tools, the Windows 7 File Recovery tools can be used to create a full system-image backup. A system image backup is a full copy of your computer’s current state. Restoring from the system image will restore all your files, programs, and settings to the state they were in when you created the image.

To create a system image backup, click the Create a system image option in the sidebar.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

You can place the system image backup on a hard disk, on several DVDs, or on a network location. It may be fairly large, as it’s a copy of all the files on your hard disk.

Windows says you can’t restore multiple files from the system image backup, but we’ve covered a way to extract individual files from a system image backup.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Restoring a Full System Backup

To restore a full system backup in the future, open the PC settings screen. Press Windows Key+C, click Settings, and select Change PC settings.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Select the General category and scroll down until you see the Advanced startup option. Click the Restart now button to restart your computer into the advanced startup options menu.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

On the Advanced options screen, select Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options -> System Image Recovery. You’ll be able to select a system image and restore your computer from it.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

If you can’t boot into Windows, your computer should automatically boot to the Advanced startup options screen after several attempts at booting normally. You can also hold down the Shift key while booting, boot from a Windows 8 installation disc, or use a Windows 8 system repair disc.

Creating a Backup Schedule

If you prefer the way Windows 7’s backup worked to the way Windows 8’s File History backup works (read more about the differences here), you can click the Set up backup link in the Windows 7 File Recovery window to create a Windows 7-style backup schedule.

The process will be the same as setting up the backup and restore feature on Windows 7. Note that you can’t enable File History while a Windows 7 backup schedule is enabled.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Windows 8’s File History feature has a few limitations, but they can be worked around. For example, while File History can only back up files in libraries, you can add any folder on your computer to a library to ensure it’s backed up. The most compelling reason to use Windows 7 File Recovery instead is the ability to create full system backup images.

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Backups on Windows can be confusing. Whether you’re using Windows 7 or 8, you have quite a few integrated backup tools to think about. Windows 8 made quite a few changes, too.

You can also use third-party backup software, whether you want to back up to an external drive or back up your files to online storage. We won’t cover third-party tools here — just the ones built into Windows.

Backup and Restore on Windows 7

Windows 7 has its own Backup and Restore feature that lets you create backups manually or on a schedule. You’ll find it under Backup and Restore in the Control Panel.

The original version of Windows 8 still contained this tool, and named it Windows 7 File Recovery. This allowed former Windows 7 users to restore files from those old Windows 7 backups or keep using the familiar backup tool for a little while. Windows 7 File Recovery was removed in Windows 8.1.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

System Restore

System Restore on both Windows 7 and 8 functions as a sort of automatic system backup feature. It creates backup copies of important system and program files on a schedule or when you perform certain tasks, such as installing a hardware driver. If system files become corrupted or your computer’s software becomes unstable, you can use System Restore to restore your system and program files from a System Restore point.

This isn’t a way to back up your personal files. It’s more of a troubleshooting feature that uses backups to restore your system to its previous working state.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Previous Versions on Windows 7

Windows 7’s Previous Versions feature allows you to restore older versions of files — or deleted files. These files can come from backups created with Windows 7’s Backup and Restore feature, but they can also come from System Restore points. When Windows 7 creates a System Restore point, it will sometimes contain your personal files. Previous Versions allows you to extract these personal files from restore points.

This only applies to Windows 7. On Windows 8, System Restore won’t create backup copies of your personal files. The Previous Versions feature was removed on Windows 8.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

File History

Windows 8 replaced Windows 7’s backup tools with File History, although this feature isn’t enabled by default. File History is designed to be a simple, easy way to create backups of your data files on an external drive or network location.

File History replaces both Windows 7’s Backup and Previous Versions features. Windows System Restore won’t create copies of personal files on Windows 8. This means you can’t actually recover older versions of files until you enable File History yourself — it isn’t enabled by default.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

System Image Backups

Windows also allows you to create system image backups. These are backup images of your entire operating system, including your system files, installed programs, and personal files. This feature was included in both Windows 7 and Windows 8, but it was hidden in the preview versions of Windows 8.1. After many user complaints, it was restored and is still available in the final version of Windows 8.1 — click System Image Backup on the File History Control Panel.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Storage Space Mirroring

Windows 8’s Storage Spaces feature allows you to set up RAID-like features in software. For example, you can use Storage Space to set up two hard disks of the same size in a mirroring configuration. They’ll appear as a single drive in Windows. When you write to this virtual drive, the files will be saved to both physical drives. If one drive fails, your files will still be available on the other drive.

This isn’t a good long-term backup solution, but it is a way of ensuring you won’t lose important files if a single drive fails.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Microsoft Account Settings Backup

Windows 8 and 8.1 allow you to back up a variety of system settings — including personalization, desktop, and input settings. If you’re signing in with a Microsoft account, OneDrive settings backup is enabled automatically. This feature can be controlled under OneDrive > Sync settings in the PC settings app.

This feature only backs up a few settings. It’s really more of a way to sync settings between devices.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

OneDrive Cloud Storage

Microsoft hasn’t been talking much about File History since Windows 8 was released. That’s because they want people to use OneDrive instead.

OneDrive — formerly known as SkyDrive — was added to the Windows desktop in Windows 8.1. Save your files here and they’ll be stored online tied to your Microsoft account. You can then sign in on any other computer, smartphone, tablet, or even via the web and access your files. Microsoft wants typical PC users “backing up” their files with OneDrive so they’ll be available on any device.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

You don’t have to worry about all these features. Just choose a backup strategy to ensure your files are safe if your computer’s hard disk fails you. Whether it’s an integrated backup tool or a third-party backup application, be sure to back up your files.

Walter Glenn is a former Editorial Director for How-To Geek and its sister sites. He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry and over 20 years as a technical writer and editor. He’s written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and edited thousands. He’s authored or co-authored over 30 computer-related books in more than a dozen languages for publishers like Microsoft Press, O’Reilly, and Osborne/McGraw-Hill. He’s also written hundreds of white papers, articles, user manuals, and courseware over the years. Read more.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

The built-in backup utilities in Windows are pretty solid. Let’s take a look at how to create a full backup image of your PC without the need for a third party utility.

  1. Open the System Backup Image Tool. In Windows 10, head to Control Panel > Backup and Restore (Windows 7) > Create a System Image.
  2. Choose where you want to save the backup image.
  3. Select the drives to back up.
  4. Start the backup.
  5. Optionally, create a system repair disc that you can use to start your computer and restore a backup image.

Normal backup programs, like CrashPlan or Windows’ built-in File History feature, essentially copy your files to another location. A system image backup, on the other hand, is like a full snapshot of an entire hard drive. The advantage of a system image is that if a hard drive crashes, you can replace it, restore the image, and have your system right back to where it was when the image was captured. No need to reinstall Windows or your apps.

The biggest disadvantage with system image backups—other than taking a bit longer—is that you can’t restore the backup to a different PC. You’re creating an image of your full Windows installation and, since Windows is set up specifically for your hardware, it just won’t work as-is in another PC. It would be like trying to plug your hard drive into another PC and expecting everything to load well. With that in mind, though, image backups can still be really handy.

Third-party apps like like Macrium Reflect or Acronis True Image—at least, the paid versions—do offer some advanced features you won’t find in the Windows system image backup tool. For example, both support incremental backups, password protected images, and the ability to browse backups for individual files. But free is free, and if you don’t need the extra features, the Windows tool offers a solid way to perform a full backup of your system.

Step One: Open System Image Backup

The process of finding the System Image Backup tool is different in Windows 7 than in Windows 8 and 10, so we’ll show you to find the tool in all versions, and then explain how to create and use the system image.

Open System Image Backup in Windows 10

In Windows 10, hit Start, type “backup,” and then select the entry.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

In the “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” window, click the “Create a system image” link.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Open System Image Backup in Windows 8

In Windows 8, hit Start, type “file history,” and then select the “File History” entry.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

In the “File History” window, click the “System Image Backup” link.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Open System Image Backup in Windows 7

Hit Start, click the arrow to the right of the “Getting Started” item, and then click “Back up your files.”

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

In the “Backup and Restore” window, click the “Create a system image” link.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Step Two: Create a System Image Backup

Once you’ve opened the system image tool, the steps for creating a system image are the same in Windows 7, 8, or 10.

When you first open the tool, it will scan your system for external drives. You can then decide where you want to save the image. It can be to an external drive, multiple DVD’s, or on a network location. Select where you want to save your backup and then click “Next.”

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

By default, the tool only backs up your system drive. You can include other drives if you want, but remember that this will add to the size of the final image. Typically, we like to create separate image backups for each drive.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

At the confirmation screen, notice the amount of space the image may take. If anything doesn’t look right, you can still go back and make adjustments. If everything looks okay, click the “Start Backup” button.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

You’ll see a progress meter as the tool creates the image.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

It can take a while. In this example, we’re backing up a drive with about 319 GB of data. It took about 2.5 hours when backed up to an external hard disk connected to our PC via USB. Your time will vary depending on your PC and the type of storage to which you’re backing up.

Step Three: Create a System Repair Disc

When the backup is complete, Windows gives you the option to create a system repair disc. You can use this disc to start your PC and restore from your image backup in the event you ever need to replace your hard drive and can’t start Windows. We highly recommend you go ahead and create the disc, then label and store it in a secure location.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Select the drive you want to use to create the disc and then click the “Create Disc” button.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

When it comes time to restore the image, you can start your PC from the recovery disc to get access to a number of recovery tools—including “System Image Recovery.”

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Creating an image backup can take some time, so it’s best to do it when you won’t need your computer for a few hours—or even overnight. And should the need ever arise when you need to put that backup to use, be sure to check out our full guide to restoring image backups in Windows.

Built-in Backup Tools Windows 8.1

While Windows 7 and Vista had the Backup and Restore applet, Windows 8 introduced File History as the default backup option. File History is a replacement for Previous Versions from Windows Vista and Windows 7. Unlike Windows 7, File History does allow backup to network shares for all versions of Windows 8 which is a good thing and makes the software far more useful. The downside is that scheduled System Backups have been removed from Windows 8 and 8.1. You can still manually create a system backup, and you can perform a system backup to a network share, but you can’t schedule this to be run. Also, File History only performs a backup of files in your libraries (Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop folders), as well as any files saved locally from OneDrive. Still, the most important information on your computer is your files, so let’s look at how to enable this feature to protect them:

  1. Windows 8.1 adds the ability to enable File History from PC Settings, however the options are just to enable File History and to select a backup target, so these instructions will focus on the Control Panel applet which offers more advanced options. To launch File History, right click the Start button and choose Control Panel. Next expand System and Security and select Save backup copies of your files with File History.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

  1. If File History has never been configured before, the system will scan for available disks that it can back up to. You can choose the disk, or use the link Select a network location to configure the disk.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

  1. Once configured, simply click Turn On, and File History is enabled.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

  1. If you’d like to modify your File History settings, that can be done in the File History applet. To exclude folders, choose Exclude Folders where you can select folders you wish to exclude from the backup. Unfortunately, you can’t add user defined folders here which you do want backed up. To add folders to be backed up, you either have to add that folder to an existing library, or create a new library.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

  1. Advanced settings are also available in the File History applet, and these allow you to specify how often to run the File History backup (from ten minutes to daily) as well as specify how much of the PC’s disk to use as an offline cache (2% to 20%) in the event you are travelling and not able to access your backups, as well as to specify how many versions of files to keep.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Unlike Windows 7, File History’s interface is all in the control panel. It’s not as elegant as Previous Versions was, where you could right click any file or folder and see a list of all versions, but the interface is fairly straightforward and does show you a list of all of the backups:

  1. Launch File History by right clicking the Start button and opening the Control Panel. Next expand System and Security and select Restore your files with File History.
  2. The interface that opens up will be a listing of the locations you are backing up. The most recent backup will be displayed by default. To restore a file, navigate to the folder it was in, select the file by clicking it, and then press the green Restore button to restore it to the original location.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

  1. If you’d like to restore it to a different location, right click the file and choose Restore To and then browse to your path.
  2. To navigate through your backups, you can use the skip buttons at the bottom of the page. The easiest way to sort though is to navigate to the folder where your file is (or was), and it will display only the backups that have changes in them. If a folder hasn’t been modified since you enabled File History, there will only be one backup for it. This is an easier method than trying to figure out which day you deleted a file.

Overall, File History is a decent built-in utility, but as is often the case, attempts to make the process easier to use often result in a system that is less powerful, and that’s certainly the case with this. Windows 7 lacked network backup for some versions, but overall the Windows 7 backup utility offered more features, especially with the automatic system backup. Previous Versions is also an easier way to find changes made to a file. File History also lacks a method of backing up files outside of your libraries and OneDrive folders which is not ideal by any means. Windows 8.1 forces you to make a system backup manually, and that can be done as so:

  1. Right click the Start button and open Control Panel. Expand System and Security, and then select Save backup copies of your files with File History which won’t actually be used, but is the shortcut to the System image backup.
  2. On the File History applet, click on System Image Backup in the bottom left corner.
  3. Choose a location for your backup. If it’s on a network share, you can optionally enter login credentials if required. Click Next.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

  1. Now you will be prompted to confirm, and if you are happy click Finish. The confirmation dialog will estimate how much disk space will be required, and warn you that only a single backup file will be kept. In other words, there is no versioning.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

If you are using File History as your backup method of choice, you should definitely create at least one system backup to allow you to restore to a new hard drive or machine if necessary. If you ever need to restore this, you can create a recovery drive by choosing the Recovery option in the File History applet. If you don’t have another computer to create this on if needed, it’s a good idea to create one ahead of time.

It is possible to create full scheduled backups, but only from the command line using wbadmin but this is not something I would recommend for the average user.

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Windows 8 contains a completely revamped backup system. Windows 8’s File History replaces Windows 7’s Windows Backup – if you use Windows Backup and update to Windows 8, you’ll find quite a few differences.

Microsoft redesigned Windows’ backup features because less than 5% of PCs used Windows Backup. The new File History system is designed to be simple to set up and work automatically in the background.

This post will focus on the differences between File History and the Windows Backup feature you may be familiar with from Windows 7 – check out our full walkthrough of File History for more information.

Only Files in Libraries Can Be Backed Up

With Windows 7, you can back up any files on your computer – not only personal files, but program files, system files, and anything else. You can also create full system images that can be used to restore your computer to its current state in the future.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

There’s been a major philosophical change in Windows 8. You can no longer create full system images, nor can you back up everything on your hard drive. Instead, you can only back up files in your libraries, files on your desktop, your contacts, and your browser favorites. Windows 8’s File History feature is designed to protect users’ personal files, which are generally irreplaceable. In contrast, there’s less need to back up system files because operating systems and applications can be reinstalled from elsewhere.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

If you want to back up a folder elsewhere on your hard disk, you can add it to a library and tell Windows 8 to back up that library. You can exclude certain files in your library from being backed up, but you can’t include files outside your libraries or desktop.

Continuous Backup

File History is designed to back up your files on a continuous basis, so you can easily revert to a previous version of a file or restore a deleted file. This also minimizes data loss – if your computer goes down and you lose all your files, you’ll lose very few files as they were recently backed up.

When setting up a backup with Windows 7’s Windows Backup, the default schedule is to run a backup once per month.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

When setting up a backup in Windows 8, the default is a continuous backup that automatically takes a snapshot of the latest versions of your files every hour.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Easier Restoring From Backup

File History incorporates the Previous Versions feature in Windows 7, which allows you to quickly restore previous versions of a file. Restoring files from File History is a similar experience. You can do it right from File Explorer (formerly known as Windows Explorer) – just click the History button on the ribbon.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

In Windows 7, you have to open the Windows Backup control panel and use the Restore My Files wizard to restore files from a backup. You can restore a previous version of a file by right-clicking it and using its properties window, but this previous version of a file may come from elsewhere, such as a system restore point – not necessarily from a backup taken with Windows Backup.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

Other Features

Windows 8’s File History also has some other features that work with the way people actually use backups. For example, it’s easier to set up – when you connect an external hard drive, you’ll be asked whether you want to use it for backup. You can no longer use an internal drive for backups – you’ll need an external drive or network location. This helps enforce good backup practice – there’s no sense backing up your files to another partition on the same hard disk; you’ll lose everything if the hard disk fails.

When setting up File History, you can optionally advertise your backup drive as a backup drive for your HomeGroup. All Windows 8 computers in your HomeGroup can back up their files to this location, making it easy to set up a centralized backup location.

How to use windows 7’s backup tools in windows 8

File History certainly isn’t for everyone – some users will want third-party backup applications that can take full system backups and back up every file on their hard drives. However, Windows 8’s File History backup feature is easier to use and may be more useful for the average user than Windows 7’s comparatively clunky tool.

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You need to open Settings and select Let me decide instead of allowing Windows to choose what to backup. Windows 8 backup tool is File History, not win 7 recovery. Win 7 backup is well hidden in windows 8 so you might not be using that. Search for Windows 7 File Recovery in Settings to find it. Win 8 File History does not let the user customize as much as win 7 and does not make system images. It also backs up constantly and can fill up your external hard drive. Win 7 backup is not included in the 8.1 preview. We will see if it appears in the final version.

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It is always a safe think to create a backup of your individual Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows operating system just in case all sorts of things goes wrong and you would just as to have your Windows OS way back to the way it would be. For you to create a backup related to your Windows 8.1 to our USB stick you will need to own a big enough USB to provide for everything you have on ones own Windows 8.1 system. But fortunately for our company we only need approximately ten GB of free space on this USB or less therefore we shouldn’t contain any issues with this.

Another strong feature in Windows 8.1 must be the the fact that it can provide us the possibility to save upright to an external USB thus getting the process a lot easier in us. So if you used an internal hard drive to save an backup image of your Windows 8.1 operating system you can now airport transfer it to your very special USB stick and free up some opening for other stuff. For a posted explanation about how to burn Windows 8.1 to your USB follow each tutorial below.

Backup Windows 10 with regards to USB

  1. Use the ‘Create any recovery drive’ option
  2. Use deal with Panel

1. Use the ‘Create a new recovery drive’ option

  1. Move those mouse cursor to the lower properly side of the screen.
  2. A food list bar should show and you will definately need to left click towards Search.
  3. In the search box you are almost always presented in that menu you may need to type in there convalescence drive.
  4. An icon with Create your own recovery drive should pop up when the screen.
    Note: You will necessitate to be signed in as supervisor in order to access this amazing Windows 10, 8.1, 7 feature.
  5. Left view on the Create a recovery desire icon.
  6. You will need to test the box right next you can Copy the recovery partition from you see, the PC to the recovery drive.
  7. Left check on Next button you have for the lower side of the home window.
  8. You will be presented on our own Windows 10, 8.1 window with any necessary size needed on all USB.
  9. If you have the necessary hole needed for the recovery partition concerned with the stick then insert unquestionably the USB stick.
  10. Left click on some USB drive to select it.
  11. Left merely click on the Next button in their lower side of the movie screen.
  12. Left click on the Create icon.
  13. You will have to wait up that would one hour depending on the funds transfer speed.
  14. Left click on typically the Finish button after the process is basically finished.
  15. Remove the USB stick from your ultimate Windows 8.1 device.
    Note: keep this fact USB stick only for ones own Windows 10, 8.1 recovery; you should not place anything else on this detailed USB stick.
  • RELATED: Full Fix: must not create Recovery drive using Windows 10, 8,1, 7

8. Use Control Panel

You can backup windows ten on USB from the charge Panel as well. Here are the details to follow:

  1. Launch deal with Panel > go to System and essential safety.
  2. Select Backup and Restore (Windows 7)
  3. Create their system image
  4. The mystery ‘Where do you want to save the exact backup?’ will appear on the show > select On a hard hard drive
  5. Select the storage device where they want to save the back > Launch the backup process.
  6. The wizard will be able to now create a full system encouragement of your system.

Also, just one more thing you need to keep with mind is that if you enhanced to Windows 10, 8.1 from the latest previous Windows 8, 7 version your company will need to upgrade again you are system after you use all of the USB stick as a backup.

With the item being said, you now have each workable backup copy of this Windows 10, 8.1, 7 system ready if you want to use whenever you have any elements with your operating system. If you will have any questions regarding this report, let us know in the evaluations below and we will reply by the shortest time possible.