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how to back up Windows 11

How do I make a backup of Windows 11? If you are seeking a way to back up your computer in Windows 11, this post is helpful and you can find details of Windows 11 backup – create a system image and back up files. Go to see how to back up Windows 11 with Windows backup tools and MiniTool Software.

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When making some changes to Windows, you must make sure you have made a backup of your files. This is to ensure the data is secure in case files are lost. Besides, this is conducive to restore the data when the system crashes. Moreover, it is essential to have a backup of your system, which is critical when the PC fails to load.

If you are running Windows 10, you can refer to this post - How to Backup Files on Windows 10? Try These Top 4 Ways and start Windows 10 backup. But with the release of Windows 11, some of you may wonder about Windows 11 backup since this brand new OS brings many differences. Next, let’s go to see the following part to know how to back up Windows 11.

How to Do Windows 11 Backup

Owning a backup copy of important files or creating a system image is always good. Keeping copies in a secure place is important in case something goes wrong with the originals. A good location to store backup copies is an external hard drive, USB flash drive, or online storage.

If you get ready for Windows backup, follow these ways below now.

Back up Files to OneDrive

There are multiple ways to back up files in Windows 11 and one simple way is to set up OneDrive backup – it is an online backup. OneDrive can help to back up your files & photos and you can access them from any device and anywhere

OneDrive is the cloud storage of Microsoft and you will have a free 5GB available space when signing up for it. To get more free space, perform an upgrade plan.

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Here is how to back up files in Windows 11 via OneDrive.

Step 1: To use OneDrive for Windows 11 file backup, you should first have an OneDrive account. Just go to create a one via this link.

Step 2: After signing up OneDrive, go to Windows 11 Settings by pressing Win + I keys.

Step 3: Go to System > Storage > Advanced storage settings > Backup options.

Step 4: Click the Set up syncing button next to OneDrive folder syncing.

Step 5: Manage the folder you want to back up and then click the Start backup button.

Windows 11 back up files to OneDrive

To know more information about Windows 11 OneDrive backup, refer to this post - Break OneDrive 5GB Free Backup Limit for Installing Windows 11.

In addition to backing up data to cloud storage, you can choose to back up your Windows 11 computer to an internal or external hard drive, USB thumb drive, etc. using File History, Backup and Restore, and a third-party Windows 11 backup software.

Back up Files in Windows 11 with File History

File History is a built-in backup tool in Windows 10 and Windows 11. With it, you can easily back up your folders including Music, Documents, Downloads, Pictures, Videos, Desktop, Contacts, OneDrive, etc. An external hard drive or USB flash drive is a good storage device.

In Windows 11, File History has a huge change and it cannot be found in Settings. And the way to use it for file backup is also different from Windows 10. Well then, how to back up Windows 11 files with File History? Follow the instructions below.

Step 1: Click the search button, type file history, and click the tool from the search result to open. Alternatively, you can go to Control Panel (viewed by large icons) > File History.

Step 2: You will get a message saying “No usable drives were found”. You can connect your USB thumb drive or external drive to the Windows 11 computer for backup. Or click Select a network location. Here, we use a USB drive as a storage device.

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Step 3: Click Turn on and File History will start saving copies of your files so that you can restore them if they are damaged or lost.

Windows 11 File History

Windows 11 File History allows you to back up files automatically. By default, it can help you to back up files every hour. If you want to customize the setting, go to Advanced settings > Save copies of files and then select the frequency option. Finally, click Save changes.

automatically back up files Windows 11

Tip: Besides, you can customize how long to keep saved versions, exclude folders from File History, and more. To know much information about this tool, refer to this post - Windows 10 vs Windows 11 File History: What’s the Difference.

After finishing Windows 11 backup via File History, if you want to get lost or damaged data back, click Restore personal files. Then, click the gear icon and choose Restore or Restore to.

Back up Windows 11 to External Hard Drive or USB via Backup and Restore

In Windows, there is another backup tool called Backup and Restore (Windows 7). With it, you can easily create a system image in Windows 11. In addition, files on your hard drive can be also backed up by this tool. Also, it supports automatic backup.

How to back up Windows 11 with Backup and Restore? The following are the steps and let’s see them.

Step 1: Type control panel to the search box and click the result to open this tool.

Step 2: List all the items by large icons and then click the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) link to open this built-in Windows 11 backup tool.

Create a System Image in Windows 11

A system image is very important in case the system fails to boot. If you have created one, you can easily restore the system to a normal state. Besides, if you install Windows 11 and it always has glitches and bugs, but the rollback option is not available after 10 days, the system image can help you go back to Windows 10 from Windows 11.

The following is how to create a system image in Windows 11.

Step 1: In the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) interface, click Create a system image to continue.

create a system image Windows 11

Step 2: Decide where to save the backup. To create a Windows 11 system image, you can choose an external hard drive, DVD, or a network location.

Tip: You cannot back up Windows 11 to USB using Create a system image. If you select a USB drive as the storage path, an error appears saying "the drive is not a valid backup location".

Step 3: Choose drives to include in the backup. By default, system-related partitions are selected. Just click Next to go on.

choose partitions to back up

Step 4: Confirm your backup settings and then click Start backup. Then, Windows is starting the backup.

Tip: Sometimes the backup fails with an error, for example, no enough disk space to create the volume shadow copy 0x80780119 error, there was a failure in preparing the backup image, Windows Backup failed to get an exclusive lock on the EFI system partition, etc.

Back up Windows 11 to USB/External Hard Drive via Set up Backup

Backup and Restore (Windows 7) offers you a feature called Set up backup that allows you to back up files stored to the hard drives connected to your computer. Here is how to do Windows 11 backup with this feature.

Step 1: Click Set up backup from the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) page.

Step 2: Choose the drive that you want to save the files to and click Next.

Step 3: Decide what you want to back up. If you check Let Windows choose, Windows will back up files in libraries, on the desktop, and in default Windows folders. Besides, a system image will be created. If you choose Let me choose, you can customize files that you want to back up and don’t create a system image. Here, we choose the second one.

what to back up

Step 4: Select the check box of the items you want to include in the backup. If you don’t want to create a system image of Windows 11, uncheck the box of Include a system image of drives.

choose files to back up

Step 5: Review your backup settings and then click the Save settings and run backup button.

This Windows backup tool helps back up your computer on a regular schedule. It has a default value. But you can customize the backup frequency by clicking Change schedule. Then, changed or new files since your last backup will be added to your backup according to the schedule you set.

back up files in Windows 11 automatically

After backup, you can manage backup space, change settings, restore Windows 11 backups, and more.

Now we have shown you three backup options offered by Microsoft. If you want to back up files to cloud storage, use OneDrive. Windows 11 File History only allows you to back up folders in Library. To back up files, you can use Backup and Restore (Windows 7). Besides, this tool can also help to create a system image. Just choose one tool for Windows 11 backup according to your needs.

Of course, the Windows built-in backup tools are not perfect and they only meet some demands. At this time, backup software for Windows 11 from third-party manufacturers appears on the market. Here we will recommend MiniTool ShadowMaker.

Back up Your Computer with MiniTool ShadowMaker

MiniTool ShadowMaker, a professional and free Windows 11 backup software, can be used to back up files, folders, systems, disks, and partitions within simple steps. It supports incremental backup & differential backup and automatic backup (four options – daily, weekly, monthly, and on event). To manage backup disk space, you can easily delete old backup versions by customizing the backup scheme.

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Besides, MiniTool ShadowMaker is useful to sync files, clone disk, perform a PXE boot, create a bootable USB flash/hard drive or CD/DVD to restore system when it cannot boot, make advanced settings including image creation mode, file size, compression, comment, email, excluding and more.

Compared to Windows 11 Backup and Restore, this backup software can offer various options and back up your PC in a flexible way. To know much information, refer to this post - Windows 10 vs Windows 11 Backup & Restore vs MiniTool ShadowMaker.

Now, click the following button to get MiniTool ShadowMaker Trial Edition and free try it within 30 days.

Free Download

How to back up Windows 11 via MiniTool ShadowMaker? See the steps below.

Step 1: Launch this backup software for Windows 11/10/8/7.

Step 2: Click Keep Trial to the main interface.

Step 3: Navigate to Backup, you can find this tool backs up system partitions by default. To back up files, go to Source > Folders and Files and choose items.

Step 4: Click Destination and choose an external hard drive or USB drive as a path. Also, you can back up the PC to NAS.

Step 5: Click Back up Now to start backup right now.

back up Windows 11 with MiniTool ShadowMaker

Tip: To automatically back up files, turn on Schedule and configure a time point. To delete old backup files, use Scheme. Besides, if you want to manage your backup, you can navigate to the Backup page.

Bottom Line

Now, you know how to back up Windows 11 after reading this long article. Three backup tools from Microsoft and one backup software – MiniTool ShadowMaker are introduced here. Just choose one for Windows 11 backup based on your needs.

If you have any idea, leave a comment below or if you have any issues when using MiniTool ShadowMaker, send an email to [email protected].

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