How to Backup and Restore a Windows 11 Computer
Making some changes to your PC? Make sure you take a backup and know how to restore from a backup in case things go sideways.
Backing up your computer periodically is always a good practice as it safeguards your personal files and folders from getting affected in the event of your PC getting affected by a malware infection, any hardware issue, or your PC behaving unexpectedly after a major software upgrade.
Though there are many third-party tools available to do the job, however, Windows has an in-built functionality that can backup your essential files and restore all the files if and when needed by you.
Thus, without further ado, let’s start with taking the Backup first and then move on to the Restore process.
Create a Backup on Windows 11 Using Backup and Restore Wizard
First, open Start Menu and type Control Panel to search for it. Then from the search results, click on the ‘Control Panel’ tile to open the Control Panel window.
Note: If you wish to allocate an external drive for your Windows device backup, connect the drive before commencing the process.
Then, from the Control Panel window, locate and click on the ‘Backup and Restore’ tile from the grid of options.
If this is your first time setting up the backup for your computer, click on the ‘Set up backup’ option present on the window to proceed. This will open a separate window on your screen.
Now, from the separately opened window, click to select one of the drives you wish to allocate for storing the backup and click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed.
Then, on the next screen, you will need to choose what do you wish to backup. You can either let Windows decide or choose files and folders manually that should be included in the backup.
To let Windows decide, click on the radio button preceding the ‘Let Windows choose’. Otherwise, to manually select files and folders, click on the radio button preceding the ‘Let me choose’ option and click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed.
If you chose to select the files and folders manually, you will now have to select the drives, folders, and/or files you wish to take a backup of by clicking on the checkbox preceding the individual listing. To navigate to the nested folder, click on the little chevron to reveal all the folders present in a directory.
Once you have selected your desired files and folders, click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed.
After that, Windows will show you the summary of the files/folders/drives you have selected on the previous window. You can also set a schedule to take a backup of selected directories periodically by clicking on the ‘Turn on schedule’ button present on the window pane. This will open a separate window on your screen.
Now, from the separately opened window, click on the drop-down menu present right beside the ‘How often’ field and select the frequency of the backup. Typically, ‘Weekly’ backup is recommended.
Then, to select a day of the week click on the drop-down menu present right beside the ‘What day’ option and click to select an option from the list.
After that, click on the drop-down menu following the ‘What time’ option to select a time convenient to you for the periodic backup.
Note: Make sure your PC is turned on and the selected drive is connected (if external storage is used for backup) to ensure the backup is successfully created periodically.
In case you do not wish to run a periodic backup, click to unselect the checkbox preceding the ‘Run backup on a schedule’ option. Once you have set the backup schedule as per your requirement click on the ‘OK’ button to apply the settings and close the window.
Now, from the ‘Set up backup’ window click on the ‘Save settings and run backup’ button present in the bottom right corner of the window to proceed.
Windows will now start the backup progress, you can track the same on the Control Panel window.
Once the backup process has been finished, Windows will notify you of the same.
And that’s it you have successfully backed up your chosen personal files and folders. Now, hop on to the next section to learn how to restore them if and when required.
Restore your Files from a Backup
Once you have backed up your PC, you can easily restore your machine using the backup file or restore point you have created earlier.
To restore the PC, open the Start Menu and click on the Settings tile from the ‘pinned apps’ section or open it by searching for it.
Next, make sure the ‘System’ tab has been selected from the left sidebar present on the Settings window.
Now, from the left section of the settings window, scroll down to locate and click on the ‘Recovery’ tile to continue.
Then, under the ‘Recovery options’ section, locate the ‘Advanced startup’ tile and click on the ‘Restart now’ button present on the far right side of it.
In case the PC you wish to restore is not booting up, you will have to enter Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). To do that, you will have to access your BIOS/UEFI firmware settings.
To enter the WinRE, first, boot up your PC. Then at the first signal of system boot up, force shut down the PC by pressing and holding the ‘Power’ button for 10 seconds if you are using a laptop computer. Otherwise, pull the plug, if you are using a desktop computer.
Repeat this process 3 times and let your PC boot up normally on the 4th try. Windows will automatically take you to the ‘Advanced startup screen’.
Once the ‘Advanced Startup screen’ is visible on your machine, locate and click on the ‘Troubleshoot’ option.
After that, on the next screen, click on the ‘Advanced options’ tile to continue.
Now, from the ‘Advanced options’ screen, click on the ‘System Image Recovery’ tile to proceed. Your machine will now restart.
Once restarted, ‘System Image Recovery’ screen will appear on your screen. Find your account name listed under the section and click on it to continue.
On the next screen, enter your account password that you used to log in to your computer and click on the ‘Continue’ button.
After that, on the ‘Select a system image backup’ screen, click on the radio button preceding the ‘Use the latest available system image’ option and click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed.
In case you are restoring the system image to an entirely different machine, you will need to format and preparation the storage drive in order to match the format of the drives you are restoring the image from.
To do so, locate the ‘Format and repartition the disk’ section and click on the ‘Exclude disks’ button. In case the option is greyed out, click on the ‘Install drivers’ option present on the window to install the drivers of the disks you are restoring. Once you have formatted the previous partitions or installed drivers for the disks you are restoring, click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed.
After that, on the next screen, click on the ‘Finish’ button to start the backup restore process.
The restoration process will now begin on your machine, wait patiently while the process completes. Once the restoration process completes itself, a prompt will appear on your screen asking you to restart the PC. Click on the ‘Restart’ button to restart your PC.
That’s it, folks, using this guide, you should be able to backup and restore your Windows 11 PC on your own.