Windows 11 helps keep your data safe, but regular backups are always a good idea
Data security has come a long way. From unreliable hard drives to today’s combination of reliable SSDs and cloud-based storage options, your data is safer than ever. Windows has also become more reliable over the years, but if you want to be completely sure that your data is safe, backing up is the way to go.
Windows 11 includes backup and restore features. While it’s not as simple as backing up your Android phone, it’s still easy enough to use and works well enough that it doesn’t require a third-party app. Here’s how to backup Windows 11 and restore it if needed.
How to Backup Windows 11
The Windows 11 Backup and Restore tool is hidden in the Control Panel. If you’re familiar with Windows because you’ve used earlier versions of the operating system, you’ll find this tool even easier to use. You will need an external drive to save the backup. Follow the steps below to backup Windows 11.
- Connect your external drive to your Windows 11 computer.
- Open the control panel via Windows Search, and click on System and Security.
- Click on File history in the right pane.
- Click on System Image Backup at the bottom of the left navigation pane.
- In the new window, click Create system image option.
- The System Image Wizard will guide you through the process. Select the On a hard drive option. Your external drive will automatically be selected, but click the drop-down menu to select it if necessary. Click Next.
- Select the partitions you want to back up and click Next Again. If you get an encrypted drive warning, click OKAY.
- Take a last look at your backup settings, then click Start Backup to start.
- You will have to wait for a while, but the backup will complete. Click No when the wizard asks you if you want to create a system repair disc.
- Click on close to close the wizard and complete your Windows 11 backup.
These steps are for Windows 11, but the Backup and Restore tool has been present in Windows since Windows 7. As such, you can follow these steps for Windows 7 and later.
How to Restore Windows 11 Backup
The Windows 11 native backup tool will only allow you to restore the backup when reinstalling the operating system. Indeed, the tool creates a complete image of your system and restores it exactly as it is. As such, you’ll need to boot to a Windows 11 bootable drive, with a bootable USB or DVD, and make sure your external drive with the backup is connected to your PC.
This is usually done by pressing a key or combination of keys right after pressing the power button to start your PC. Check your laptop or motherboard manufacturer’s website for the specific boot menu key for your computer. Once you start the Windows 11 installer, you can follow the steps below to restore the backup.
- Make sure you have selected the correct language, time and currency format and keyboard layout, and click Next.
- Click it Repair your computer r option down.
- Click it Troubleshoot option and select System image recovery.
- On the restore tool screen, the external drive backup will be automatically selected. Click Next.
- The following screen should not require any changes on your part, so click Next.
- Click it Finish button to begin the restore, then click Yes to confirm.
- The restore will take some time and the system will boot into Windows 11 when complete.
Although Windows 11 has a solid built-in backup feature, some users may want additional features. For such users, many third-party backup and restore applications are available. Also, if you have a lot of data, you might want to create network storage with some of the best NAS drives available. You can deploy dedicated backup and data protection if you have a NAS, and it’s a great way to protect your data from any Windows 11 failures.