Learn how to Back up your files in case the worst happens

Would you want to lose everything if your computer went kaput? No, neither would I, so I’ve created a backup of my PC and I’ll show you how to do it too.

When you buy a new PC or build your own, you should make it a priority to back up everything up. If you don’t and something goes wrong, you could lose everything on it.

Creating a backup doesn’t require any specialist knowledge, and takes the same amount of time as it does to watch an episode of Coronation Street. The initial backup takes a little while to complete, butsubsequentbackups don’t take anywhere near as long, because you are only making copies of files you’ve recently changed or added.

To make a backup, you need something to save your files on. Most people use an external hard drive because they’re cheap, have a very large storage capacity, and you can plug them in with a USB cable and use them immediately.

Step by step Create a backup right now

1. Choose a drive

To start backing up files from your PC, plug-in your external hard drive and click ‘Start > Control Panel > System and security > Backup and restore’. Now click on ‘Set up backup’ and select your external hard drive from the list of possible destinations. Before you proceed, make sure that the external hard drive is bigger than the internal drive you’re backing up.

2. Different location

If you have more than one PC, you might prefer to back up to a network drive. the benefit of this is that all the PC’s on your network can access it, so you don’t need an external hard drive for each one. To save files to a network drive, click on ‘Save on a network’. Enter the location of the network (browse for it on your PC), then enter the username and password.

3. Back up everything

Select you want to back up. The easy option is ‘Let windows choose’. this backs up most of your files and folders, except ones that aren’t needed, or can’t be backed up. It also creates a system image, like a mirror of your PC, so if there’s a problem with your PC, you can easily restore it.

4. Pick and choose

If you only want to select a few folders to back up rather than most of what’s on your PC, select the ‘Let me choose’ option from the list. this also gives you ability to change when you perform a backup. Click on next and select the folders that you would like to include in your backup.

5. Make an image

Keep the ‘include a system image of drives’ tick box checked if you want to be able to easily restore your PC if something goes wrong, then click ‘Next’ and confirm that you’re backing up the right folders. If you want to change how often you back up your PC, click on ‘Change schedule’

6. Change schedule

By default, backups will be made once a week, but if you use your PC a lot, it might be a good idea to increase the frequency of backups. On the other hand, if you don’t use your PC much – perhaps only a few times a week – you can reduce how often you perform a backup. The best time to do a backup is when you’re not likely to be using your computer, like overnight or when you’re at work. This is especially true if you have a lot of files to back up. Use the drop-down menus to change the schedule. Click on ‘OK’ and your computer will begin making a backup.

7. Resurrect your PC

If something goes wrong and you want to restore your PC using your backup, go to the Backup and Restore Center and click on ‘Restore my files’. If there’s a serious problem and you can’t even access Windows, press [F8] on your keyboard before the Windows logo shows during startup, insert your Windows 7 CD and choose ‘Repair your computer’.

8. Breathe a sigh of relief

You should now be feeling much more confident, because your PC is a lot safer. You’ve created a backup of your PC on an external hard drive or network drive, and you can restore it to its old settings if anything gets wiped accidentally. You can even get everything back if you have a more serious problem that prevents you loading Windows.