HOW  TO  BACKUP  YOUR  PERSONAL  FILES

In this section I will show you how to backup (make an external copy of) your personal folders and files using the BACKUP AND RESTORE Control Panel. It offers an automatically scheduled backup service, and manual restore service, for your personal folders and the files within them - Pictures (Photos, Faxes, Clipart including .PNG and .JPG files), Music (Playlists, WMA and MP3 files), Video (WMV and MPEG files), E-mail (Contact Lists and Messages including PST and EML files), Documents (Office, XPS and PDF files) and Compressed (ZIP) files but to name a few.

Two good features of the BACKUP AND RESTORE Control Panel are that it only backs up modified versions of the same file in subsequent backups and that it uses Shadow Copy so that you can restore a previously overwritten file of the same name. This is good if you have just accidentally written over an old file, using the same name as the old file, instead of giving the new file a new/different name. Shadow Copy will try and recover that old (now overwritten) file.


Begin the backup process by first opening the Control Panel window and then click on the BACKUP AND RESTORE (Windows 7) icon (control panel/program) to open the Backup And Restore window (Fig 1.1). Never mind about the wording: Windows 7. From there, click on the SET UP BACKUP link, located towards the top-right side of the window, to continue.

Backup Restore Explained

Fig 1.0 - Click on the BACKUP AND RESTORE icon (Control Panel/Program Link) to continue

Backup Restore Explained

Fig 1.1 - Click on the SET UP BACK UP link to continue

Backup Restore Explained

Fig 1.2 - Looking for storage devices that can be used for BACKUP purposes

After clicking on the SET UP BACK UP link (Fig 1.1 above) the backup wizard begins a search for storage devices on your computer that can be used for backup purposes. This includes storage devices such as Hard drives, Flash Drives and DVD Drives. When any of these storage devices are found they are listed in the newly opened Set Up Backup window.

When the device search has completed, select the device that you want to use for your backup files and then click on the NEXT button. When you select a device you might receive an error message at the bottom of the window stating that other people might be able to access your backup files, which to be quite frank is stating the obvious. If you click on the MORE INFORMATION link at the end of the error message that link will bring up a security requester that states security issues. Ignore it basically, unless you have TOP SECRET FBI Material on your computer, and click on the NEXT button to continue.

Backup Restore Explained

Fig 1.3 - Select a storage device to use for backup purposes and then click on the NEXT button to continue

After clicking on the NEXT button (above) the backup wizard then asks you what files you want backing up. You have two options. LET WINDOWS CHOOSE (Recommended) or LET ME CHOOSE. Normally you would leave the LET WINDOWS CHOOSE (Recommended) option selected and click on the NEXT button to continue (Fig 1.4 below); and from there click on the SAVE SETTINGS AND RUN BACKUP button to continue (Fig 1.5).....

Backup Restore Explained

Fig 1.4 - Leave the LET WINDOWS CHOOSE (Recommended) option selected and click on the NEXT button to continue

Backup Restore Explained

Fig 1.5 - Click on the SAVE SETTINGS AND RUN BACKUP button to continue

.....but you can select the LET ME CHOOSE option instead and then click on the NEXT button to continue. This option allows you to select additional folders/data areas that you would like included in the backup file process. So make your selection and click on the NEXT button to continue. From there click on the SAVE SETTINGS AND RUN BACKUP button to continue (Fig 1.8).


Backup Restore Explained

Fig 1.6 - Select the LET ME CHOOSE option and then click on the NEXT button to continue

Backup Restore Explained

Fig 1.7 - Select the folders/data areas you would like to include in the backup file process

Backup Restore Explained

Fig 1.8 - Click on the SAVE SETTINGS AND RUN BACKUP button to continue

With either option you can also change the scheduled time, if need be, of future backups by clicking on the CHANGE SCHEDULE link in the Save window (Figures 1.5 and 1.8 above). In this example I am using the LET WINDOWS CHOOSE option and have changed the Schedule Time (for future backups) to backup my files on the 1st Day of each Month at 21:00 Hours (9pm). If you do not want to run a scheduled backup simply untick the RUN BACKUP ON A SCHEDULE option. When you have change your schedule time/options click on the OK button to return to the Save window.

Backup Restore Explained

Fig 1.9 - Change the Scheduled Time, if need be, and then click on the OK button to continue.

When you have changed the schedule time/options (if need be), decided upon a backup option and then clicked on the SAVE SETTINGS AND RUN BACKUP button the backup file process will then begin.

Backup Restore Explained

Fig 1.10 - The backup wizard is now backing up system files, personal files and so on

The backup process can take 40 Minutes, and much longer, to complete depending on the amount of personal files that need to be backed up, the hard drive's speed and the computer's speed. Once the backup process has finished you will have two files on your backup device (i.e. UserName and MediaID.bin). Never mind what these files actually contain (your personal files in compressed format), just make sure you do not delete them or do not format the storage device.

The same is true when actually backing up. In the example below the backup process has finished. All is well. However, because I purposely deleted some folders during the backup process (to emulate someone doing their own "cleanup/maintenance job" while the backup process is running) the backup process has finished by stating some files were skipped (could not be backed up). Clicking on the OPTIONS button and then on its VIEW SKIPPED FILES link (not shown here) will reveal which folders/files were skipped (not backed up) during the backup process (Fig 1.12).

Backup Restore Explained

Fig 1.11 - The backup wizard has finished the backup process

Backup Restore Explained

Fig 1.12 - Certain folders could not be found during the backup process

To backup, manually, again (even before the next scheduled time) simply follow the steps above but this time around you will have the BACKUP NOW button available (as in Fig 1.11 above) as opposed to using a SET UP BACKUP link (Fig 1.1 above).

HOW  TO  STOP  A  BACKUP  IN  PROGRESS

When you click on the BACKUP NOW button (see Fig 1.11 above) to begin a manual backup that button changes into a VIEW DETAILS button (below), so that when clicked on you can see the green progress bar and some file details (Fig 2.1); and therefore see how far the backup process has reached. More importantly though, clicking on the VIEW DETAILS button opens up the View Details (Window Backup in progress) window which provides you with a STOP BACKUP button.

Backup Restore Explained

Fig 2.0 - Click on the VIEW DETAILS button to see how far the backup progress has reached and to.....

Backup Restore Explained

Fig 2.1 - .....STOP the BACKUP if need be.

Backup Restore Explained

Fig 2.2 - Click on the STOP BACKUP button if you are sure you want to stop this backup process?

You can switch the Schedule Time OFF/ON with the appropriate links that are now available within the Backup And Restore control panel, as well as change other settings. The example at the beginning of this section initiated (set up) the backup feature of Windows 10. From now on though you have the choice of either doing a manual backup as described above or letting Windows 10 carry out scheduled backups for you, if schedule time is switched on of course.

In the next section I will show you how to use the RESTORE feature of the Backup And Restore control panel.