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Published on 08.18.09 by Brent Trahan

Set Up Backup and Restore

Learn how to set up Backup and Restore in Windows 7 to backup your entire computer to an internal or external hard drive, USB flash drive, network share, or a DVD RW on a regular schedule.

Backup and Restore will backup all users’ files saved in their libraries (documents, music, pictures, so on…), desktop, and default Windows folders. If the drive you’re saving the backup is formatted in NTFS and is large enough, a system image of your programs, Windows itself, and all settings including the registry will be backed up as well.

A system image is basically a snapshot of your entire hard drive. Let’s say your hard drive crashes and is no good. If you have a system image saved on another device you could buy a new hard drive, install it, and restore the latest system image to it. After your computer has been restored using the latest system image on the new hard drive it’ll work like the moment the system image was taken. All files, programs, and settings will be in place.

Backup and Restore will also backup your computer on a regular basis (daily, weekly, or monthly). When the place you’re saving the backup to fills up it simply starts deleting the oldest backups to create space.

Before you set up Backup and Restore make sure you have created a System Repair Disc. A system repair disc is used to boot a crippled computer and restore it to a previous system image created with Backup and Restore.

Set Backup and Restore to Save Backups on an Internal/External Hard Drive or USB Flash Drive

I recommend storing your backups on an external hard drive. External hard drives are attached to your computer via USB or FireWire cable, are relatively inexpensive, and are very mobile.

  1. Open the Control Panel from the Start Menu.
  2. Open Backup and Restore in the Control Panel.

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    Note: If Backup and Restore is not available, change View by to Large icons at the top right of the Control Panel.

  3. Select Set up backup in the Backup section of the Backup and Restore window.

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  4. Select the partition, hard drive, or USB drive to save the backups and then click Next.

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    Note: Saving the backups on a different partition located on the same hard drive as Windows 7 is installed on will work, but is not recommended. If the hard drive with Windows 7 and the backups crashes, you lose Windows and the backups.

  5. Choose to Let Windows choose (recommended) and then click Next.

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  6. Review the backup settings and then click Save settings and run backup.

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    Note: Don’t forget to create a System Repair Disc used to restore a system image.

  7. The backup will begin. It might take a few minutes to a few hours depending on how much data you’re backing up.

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Set Backup and Restore to Save Backups on a DVD RW

  1. Insert a blank DVD RW disk.
  2. Open the Control Panel from the Start Menu.
  3. Open Backup and Restore in the Control Panel.

    set-up-backup-and-restore-1

    Note: If Backup and Restore is not available, change View by to Large icons at the top right of the Control Panel.

  4. Select Set up backup in the Backup section of the Backup and Restore window.

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  5. Select DVD RW drive and then click Next.

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  6. Choose to Let Windows choose (recommended) and then click Next.

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    Note: A system image will not be created when backing up to a DVD RW.

  7. Review the backup settings and then click Save settings and run backup.

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  8. You’ll probably need to click the More information button the first time a backup is saved on a DVD RW.

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  9. Click OK in the Label and insert blank media window.

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  10. Check off Don’t ask again for this backup and then click Format.

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    Note: Formatting and burning the backup to a DVD RW disk can take a long time.

Set Backup and Restore to Save Backups on a Network Share

Note: Backing up to a network share using Backup and Restore in Windows 7 is only supported on Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions.

  1. Open the Control Panel from the Start Menu.
  2. Open Backup and Restore in the Control Panel.

    set-up-backup-and-restore-1

    Note: If Backup and Restore is not available, change View by to Large icons at the top right of the Control Panel.

  3. Select Set up backup in the Backup section of the Backup and Restore window.

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  4. Click the Save on a network button.

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  5. Type or browse to the network location to save the backup, type the username and password of a user that has read and write access on the network share, and then click OK.

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    Note: You must have read and write privileges on the network share.

  6. Select the network location and then click Next.

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  7. Choose to Let Windows choose (recommended) and then click Next.

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  8. Review the backup settings and then click Save settings and run backup.

    set-up-backup-and-restore-5

    Note: Don’t forget to create a System Repair Disc used to restore a system image.

  9. The backup will begin. It might take a few minutes to a few hours depending on how much data you’re backing up.

    set-up-backup-and-restore-6

    Note: Backing up to a network share can take substantially longer depending on your network speed and the size of the backup.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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2 Responses to “Set Up Backup and Restore”

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  1. Connie Davies says:

    External drive (J) Refuses to backup, claims every blank and formatted disk is already full of previous back up which is not true, have tried DVD-R, also DVD+RW. Check the disks capacity-they are blank. Know there’s two different formats however do not have a choice and do not know what my offered format is? Had the Dell computer a year and can’t backup. Made a deal with what I thought was Dell, called themselves Cleverbridge, their backup process didn’t work for me. They said they would refund my $250.

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