Necessity – Windows 11 Backup to External Drive
Nowadays more and more people pay attention to PC backup since data safety is very important and it is easy to get lost. Besides, Windows is more prone to upgrade issues, system breakdown, file corruption/loss, malware attacks, hardware failure, etc. and Windows 11 is not an exception.
When making some changes to the PC, the system may turn unbootable. Thus, backing up the PC data or Windows operating system in advance should be a good idea.
Usually, the 3-2-1 backup strategy is adopted – 3 copies of data, 2 local copies in 2 different places & 1 offsite backup. In terms of the backup locations, one is saved to the cloud and another is stored on an external hard drive. It is easy to back up data to OneDrive in Windows 11 and you can see this guide – Windows 11 OneDrive Back up/Sync Files to Cloud with Limits.
If you choose to back up your computer to an external hard drive, data can be kept safe easily. Besides, it is convenient for you to access files that you want anytime and anywhere.
Then a question comes: “how to backup laptop to external hard drive Windows 11” or “how to automatically backup files to an external hard drive Windows 11”. Move to the next part to know what you can do.
Is Windows 7 Backup and Restore blank or not opening? Take it easy and you can find multiple fixes here, as well as professional backup software.
How to Backup Windows 11 to External Drive (3 Ways)
In this part, you can find 3 options for Windows 11 backup to external drive and they are MiniTool ShadowMaker, Backup and Restore (Windows 7), and File History. No matter which way you try, the operations are very easy as long as you follow the instructions below. Let’s look through them one by one.
How to backup Windows 11 to an external hard drive or USB flash drive? See this post that focuses on Windows 11 backup for files and system.
Windows 11 Backup to External Drive via MiniTool ShadowMaker
If you are a person who doesn’t have much computer skills and wants to look for a simple and flexible way to back up Windows 11 to an external drive, using third-party PC backup software is recommended. In the market, there are many choices for you and we strongly recommend using MiniTool ShadowMaker.
As a piece of reliable, professional, and free backup software, MiniTool ShadowMaker can meet your multiple needs. It is an all-in-one backup program – files, folders, disk, partition, and Windows operating system backup & recovery are supported. During the backup process, the backup source is compressed into an image file, which takes up less disk space.
If you want to automatically backup up files to an external hard drive in Windows 11, MiniTool ShadowMaker could be a good option since its Schedule feature allows you to create automatic backups every day, week, month, or on event. You can choose to create incremental or differential backups for only changed data.
Want to create automatic file backups in Windows 10/11? This post shows you how to automatically back up files to an external hard drive with ease.
In addition, you can use this backup software to sync files & folders to another safe location. Note that it is a one-way sync tool. Besides, if you need to clone a hard drive to another disk for upgrade or backup, its Clone Disk can satisfy you. Importantly, MiniTool ShadowMaker allows you to add its boot menu to the start menu or create a bootable USB drive/DVD/CD to run the PC for recovery in case of a breakdown.
To backup Windows 11 to external drive, get this Windows 11 backup software now by clicking the button below. Then, follow the steps below to start a backup with MiniTool ShadowMaker.
Step 1: Double-click on the icon of this backup software on the desktop to load it. Then, click Keep Trial to go on. 30-day free trial is offered by the Trial Edition.
Step 2: Navigate to the Backup page for an image backup. By default, system partitions for Windows to run have been selected as the backup source. If you need to create a system image for Windows 11, skip to the next step.
Step 3: Choose the connected external drive by clicking DESTINATION > Computer > OK.
Step 4: After going back to the Backup window, click Back Up Now to start creating a system image to an external drive.
If you need to back up files, you need to click SOURCE > Folders and Files, choose items you want to back up, and click OK. Then, start the backup. If you have an amount of data to back up at set intervals, you may ask: how to automatically backup files to an external hard drive Windows 11?
You can configure the time point by clicking Options > Schedule Settings, enabling the feature, and choosing a scheduled plan. If you want to back up the only changed files, you can choose to create incremental or differential backups and delete old backup versions at the same time. Backup Scheme is recommended for this task.
How to backup only new or changed files in Windows 11/10? In this post, you can find 2 ways for this – Windows built-in tool and MiniTool ShadowMaker.
It is simple to run MiniTool ShadowMaker for Windows 11 backup to external drive. Just get it to have a shot if you are interested in it.
In addition to the third-party software, you may ask: does Windows 11 have a backup option? Of course, Windows 11 offers two options for you to backup Windows 11 to external drive. One is Backup and Restore (Windows 7) and another is File History.
Continue reading to know the answer to this question – how to backup Windows 11 to external drive, how to backup computer to external hard drive Windows 11, or how to automatically backup files to an external hard drive Windows 11.
Windows 11 Backup to External Drive via Backup and Restore (Windows 7)
Backup and Restore (Windows 7) is designed to create a system image and back up files or folders you have selected. In terms of data backup, this tool allows you to configure a time point to automatically back up the new or changed data. Well then, how to make a system image or create a file backup with this built-in backup software to an external hard drive? Continue reading the guide here.
Create a Windows 11 System Image
Step 1: To access Windows Backup and Restore, go to open Control Panel, view all the items by large icons, and click Backup and Restore (Windows 7).
Step 2: Tap on the feature of Create a system image from the left pane.
Step 3: If the external hard drive is not connected to your PC, connect it. Then, choose an external drive to save the backup.
Windows Backup cannot back up the system to a USB flash drive along with an error “the drive is not a valid backup location". An external hard drive is a very good destination.
Step 4: Decide which drives to include in the system image. By default, system partitions are selected. If you want to back up another drive, choose it. Then, go on by clicking OK.
Step 5: After confirming the backup settings, click on the Start backup button to begin creating a system image to an external drive.
Back up Files to External Drive Windows 11
If you need to create a backup for your important files, you can run Backup and Restore (Windows 7). This tool can help to back up data in libraries, in the default Windows folders, and on the desktop. Besides, you can choose folders manually to back up. Let’s see how to automatically backup files to an external hard drive in Windows 11.
Step 1: Launch Backup and Restore in Windows 11 and tap on the button of Set up backup.
Step 2: Choose where you want to save your backup. Also, here we recommend using an external hard drive to continue.
Step 3: Check the option of Let me choose to go on.
Step 4: Choose the folders you need to back up. Note that you can only choose folders and a single file cannot be chosen in the popup.
Step 5: To automatically back up changed and new files that have been created since your last backup, you can click Change schedule to configure a time point. Then, click OK > Save settings and run backup.
Windows 11 Backup to External Drive via File History
In addition, Windows 11 has another backup option called File History that is designed to back up folders including Documents, Desktop, Downloads, OneDrive, Pictures, Music, Videos, Contacts, etc. You can choose to back up these folders to an external hard drive automatically.
Compared to File History in Windows 10, this tool has changed to some extent and you can read this post -Windows 10 vs Windows 11 File History: What’s the Difference to know some details.
How to automatically back up files to an external hard drive Windows 11 via File History? Find what you do in these steps below:
Step 1: Open Control Panel to view all the items by large icons and click File History.
Step 2: You can see a window to say No usable drive was found if you don’t connect an external drive. Just make the connection and refresh this page. You can choose the target by clicking Select drive from the left pane.
Step 3: If you don’t back up some files, click Exclude folders > Add to filter out them.
Step 4: If you want to back up files automatically, click Advanced settings and choose how often you want to save copies of your files and how long to keep saved versions.
Step 5: Finally, click Turn on to enable File History to start the backup.
Now three ways for you to run Windows 11 backup to external drive are introduced here. You may note that the features of Backup and Restore (Windows 7) and File History are limited and these inbuilt backup tools are not flexible compared to MiniTool ShadowMaker.
Besides, Windows backup not working often happens and you may run into some common errors and issues, for example, error code 0x8100002F, error 0x8078002a, there was a failure in preparing the backup image of one of the volumes in the backup set, your File History drive is disconnected, etc.
What if you run into Windows 11 backup options missing on the PC? Take it easy and you can find some useful solutions from this post.
Thus, using a third-party backup program like MiniTool ShadowMaker is recommended due to its powerful features, easy-to-use interface/operation, and flexibility. Just get it to have a shot now.
After reading this post, you know the answer to “how to backup Windows 11 to external drive” or “how to backup laptop to external hard drive Windows 11”. If you want to keep your PC safe, just get one tool for Windows 11 backup and save the backups to an external hard drive for storage.
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