How to backup Windows 7 with built-in backup Technology

Built-in Backup solution in Windows 7

If you have tried to lose valuable data of yours just one you might agree with me that it is a good idea to make a backup from time to time. But when we all know it is a good idea to make a backup, why do we forget to do it anyway from time to time? I got a couple of guess why we sometimes forget to make backup of our data:

  • Backup software is expensive
  • It takes too much time to make a full backup
  • We don’t believe that we have any important data until we lose them.

When it comes to backup of my Windows 7 Desktop PC I have 2 strategies. I use one strategy for data backup and another one for system backup. For my data backup I normally use DropBox or burn data to DVD’s. When It comes to System backup I use the built-in Backup software that comes with Windows 7 and en external USB3 hard drive dock with an old SATA disk I didn’t used anymore. Another thing I do to keep it simple is that I don’t same my any data on my C: drive. I keep the C: drive only for Windows and programs. In that way it is easier for me to backup and it is a lot easier if I decide to reinstall Windows or upgrade to a newer version.

How I make System Backup of Windows 7

USBDock for SATA drives

To make a complete backup of my active Windows installation the built-in solution in Windows 7 is very good. All I need is my USB3 Hard drive dock and one of my old SATA disk. I have a 60 GB SSD hard drive as my system drive and use a 80 GB SATA disk for backup. All I need to do is to start up the Backup and Restore program built-in to Windows.

Backup and restore in Windows 7
It is very easy to Backup your system, but you will need an additional hard drive than the one Windows is installed on. Backup to network drive is not supported.

Backup and restore2

Backup and restore progress

How to Restore a backup of Windows 7 to an empty disk

If you hard drive has crashed on you and you need to restore your Windows 7 installation from your backup you need to boot on your Windows 7 DVD or a Windows 7 System Repair Disk. Remember to turn on your external hard drive before you boot up.
When your boot on the DVD you select language and keyboard settings just like you was going to install a fresh copy, but instead of selecting Install Now you select Repair Your Computer. The system will search for hard drives with a valid Windows installation to see if it can’t find something to repair. If you only have an blank disk it will of cause not find anything so we move on and select Use Recovery tools that can help fix problems starting Windows

System Recovery Options
Select System Image Recovery

The systems search for System Image Backups to restore. Select the version you want to restore.

Re-image your computer
Confirms that all data will be overwritten with the system image from the backup by clicking Yes

Restoring disk
The restoring begins…

Restart your computer

When your computer restart Windows should be starting up on your new hard drive.

More information about Backup and Restore

How I make backup of my Data

Dropbox for data backupDVD for data backup

When it comes to backup of my personally data like: images, documents, music, videos and other stuff I use solutions like Dropbox and burning DVD’s. If you don’t already have a Dropbox account you can get one for free with 2GB of space. If that is not enough space for your data you can buy more space or burn some of your static data on DVD’s.

That was all from me. Now I would like to hear how you are making backup of your computer(s). Please drop me a comment below.


About the author:
I am an IT Professional that has this blog as a hobby project in my spare time. I have been in the IT business since 1996 and want to share some of the thing I have picked up over the years, with people who visit this blog.

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38 Responses to How to backup Windows 7 with built-in backup Technology

  1. Rahul says:

    Nice, detailed article. I too, use an external HDD usually to backup my data. I use same technique to backup data on Windows 7 that you discussed here in the article.

  2. fazal mayar says:

    thanks for this mate, backing up is the most essential thing we can do before we can even think about formatting.

  3. vishvast says:

    nice article and the step by step processes of shoeing how to made backup is good like it gud work

  4. Steve says:

    Thanks for the tutorial Thomas! Back up is very important for any kind of data. Once my operating system crashed and I was at sea. Now, I need not worry even if my operating system gets crashed. Wonderful post!

  5. talmuri says:

    Though I was using Windows 7 for last couple of months, I learned newly from your post about built-in Backup software that comes with Windows 7 as System backup. Undoubtedly, it’s a great tips for me to apply in my PC. Thank you for your wonderful post.

  6. Bivvies says:

    I really should backup my files some time.

  7. irs tax business debt relief tips says:

    Thanks for windows7 back up utility,could you please tell me is it possible to update older version of OS with window7 without removing oldsetting of Previous OS.

  8. Adrienne says:

    Hey Thomas,

    Guess what I did on Sunday? I bought a new computer and it has Windows 7. So far I must admit, I’m actually loving it. I cringe every time I have to get a new computer because you are usually stuck with whatever operating system they have out today.

    My computer kept rebooting and the more I used it, the quicker that would start to happen. I took it in but the guy said it’s not a hardware issue or a virus so probably something to do with software.

    Anyway, I’m now on Windows 7 and will do my first backup this weekend. Will definitely follow your directions and am now using an external hard drive. It will be much easier then these DVD’s.

    Great info so thanks for walking us through how to do this. You’re the best.


    • Thomas says:

      Congratulation Adrienne 🙂 I am glad to hear that you like it. It is great that Microsoft has provided us with a built-in solution for system backup in Windows7. Now we don’t have to spend money on Norton Ghost or other systems to do that.

      How do you like the new taskbar? It is a big change compared to the way it worked in Windows XP. I must admit that it took me some time to get used to it, but now I really love it.

      Let me know if there is anything I can help with or if you have any questions. It might be something that I can end up writing a post about 🙂

      You might also want to check out this post now that your are running Windows 7:

      • Adrienne says:

        The task bar took some getting use to but it’s definitely growing on me. I like that I don’t have 20 million at the top of my screen now. Okay, it just seemed like that many. 🙂

        I read a post yesterday about an addon that you can use for Windows 7 that will change the way your task bar is, your icons, you can just rearrange everything but I’m not sure I want to even deal with all of that to be honest with you.

        I instantly thought of you when I brought it home and knew that if I had any problems, you’d be the guy I call.

        Will check out your other post too Thomas, thanks.

  9. christajoe says:

    Really useful information to back up windows 7 with built-in back up technology. First thing that should always keep in mind is that save all your important data to external disk so you are always prepared for the worst. System back up with built-in software is very good.

  10. Actually I did this same backup process with windows vista. So I’m planing to update my OS Soon.

    • Thomas says:

      That is correct. The backup solution was already introduced in Windows Vista. If you are already running Windows Vista I am sure that you will love Windows 7.

  11. Joseph says:

    Very detailed article and easy to understand backing up method. This was my issue the other day, i was having a hard time to backup my files in my pc.

  12. Rizxi says:

    i was big fan of windows XP until i worked in Windows 7 Environment on my notebook, i m in in love with window 7 because its really a user friendly OS. Thanks for sharing such an informative article….

    • Thomas says:

      Windows XP was a great system, but it is almost 10 years old. I was not a big fan of Windows Vista, but Windows 7 has been great from the first day I installed it.

  13. Mrinmay Bhattacharjee says:

    Great and simple tutorial out there 🙂

  14. Suzanne Grey says:

    Simple and easy to learn the basics! 🙂

  15. Windows 7 Freak says:

    Great job Thomas. Worst thing for me is that it is so simple to make this back up but i never do it. I recently was experiencing some problems with my win 7 and after the new installation I lost everything. And i had some programs that I cant remember where I have downloaded them from. So great article from Thomas and listen to his advice 🙂

    • Thomas says:

      A lot of people have learned that lesson the hard way, me included. I think that most people have to lose a lot of important data before they really take backups seriously.

  16. Kevin Malmo says:

    I also like using what windows operating system has to officer. I remember when I was administering windows server 2003, it default windows NT back up is my back up system. 🙂

  17. Clara says:

    I like your blog graphic – is it custom made, or maybe some public template? Where can I download it from?

  18. Rashmi Sinha says:

    Backup is a crucial utility for every system. Windows 7 have a very good one and it is a very good idea to use it regularly. You never know when you will need it and when you do and you don’t have it, it is already too late.

  19. Hengge says:

    Backups are definitely a must. I do back ups every month (should be more regularyl, I know). However, I never thought about backing up the active system installation, but now I will give it a try.

  20. Atish says:

    Back up is necessary. i take one back up in my local pc and other in dropbox to stay on safer side. thanks for the tips

  21. Hey great post really you have explained great simple and easy knowledge.

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