Spotlight: Easy automatic backups with Windows 7
By now, most of our clients know of our enthusiasm over Windows 7.
Microsoft has done such a top-notch job in making the product efficient,
fast and stable, and including so many useful utilities. The backup
features including image based backup are second-to-none and eliminate
any need for 3rd party software to protect your information.
In previous issues, we’ve discussed “image backups”, which is a complete
working image of your computer’s hard drive that would allow you to
recover your system completely with a recovery CD/DVD and an external
pocket or desktop backup hard drive.
But what if you simply want to recover a single file? Windows 7 has a
new special feature which allows you to schedule automatic backups of
the “my documents” folders and send them to a USB memory stick, SD card
(on laptops) or pocket/external hard drive---even a blank DVD-RW drive!
Additionally, the backups are integrated in the “previous versions” file
menu, allowing you to recover a previous version of a file by simply
right-clicking it, and selecting the previous versions option.
To setup backup, make sure you have a USB memory stick, (SD memory card
are handy for laptops with those slots), or a pocket/external hard
drive. If your computer has a DVD writer, you may obtain some
rewriteable DVD (DVD-RW/DVD+RW) disks to perform the backup. Any of
these items are available at an office supply store, BestBuy, or Target.
Creating an automatic backup in Windows 7
Insert your backup media and then perform the following steps:
Press the Windows 7 start button
(lower left) and type “backup” and select “Backup and Restore”, or
select Backup/Restore from the Maintenance folder.
Select “Setup backup” and then
select your backup device drive letter (typically E:, F:, G:…)
If using large external hard drive,
you may select “Let windows choose…”, otherwise select “Let me choose…”
and Uncheck the box for “include system image”. Excluding the system
image will make the backup faster and smaller for memory sticks or DVD
You may then select a schedule:
Daily, Monthly or Weekly and the time—or you may run a one-time backup.
Restoring a file from backup
To restore a deleted file, simply run the Backup/Restore utility to
select the restore/recover option. If you need a previous version,
simply locate the file, right-click, and select “Previous versions”… you
will be prompted to select the desired backup media by date.
Make sure to leave your backup media
installed the day/time of the backup.
If you have CRITICAL data, it is
strongly recommended you have a second set of media and take the backup
OFFSITE, store with a trusted friend, or place in a fire-safe or safety
A FULL IMAGE backup of your computer
is still recommended every 6-12 months in the event of hard drive
failure (more frequently if you have added programs or changed
While setting up the automatic backup sounds involved, it’s nearly as
quick as reading this article and will give you some peace of mind in
protecting your pictures and other important documents.
Feel free to have us review your personal backup plan—and feel
free to share yours with us!