By Ivy / Last update March 31, 2022

Need to backup Windows 11PC and data

Windows 11 is the latest Windows NT operating system, officially released on 5 October 2021, which makes a great change in the Visual effects, including new start menu and system icons, File Explorer improvements, rounded corners, snap control, Xbox Auto HDR feature upcoming, bluetooth audio support, new Microsoft Store etc.

And since its release, there has been a lot of controversies, as many users have had trouble installing or using it, even causing data loss or boot failure, such as, this pc can't run Windows 11. However, still many users want to upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11 and enjoy its new features of it. Thus, before upgrading, it's necessary to create an exact copy of your files, system or hard drive to protect your PC and data on it.

Upcoming Windows 11

And similarly, you need to backup Windows 11 to external hard drive after upgrading and configuring your new system. This is the best time to create an initial image for factory resetting. To protect it continuously, you need to schedule backup system in  Windows 11 including all the changes made later. At this moment, you need a free backup software for Windows 11. 

Does Windows 11 has built-in backup software?

Windows 11 still keeps Backup and Restore (Windows 7) and File History in the backup settings. In addition, the most biggest change is that it adds a new backup setting - Back up files to OneDrive. Thus, you can use all the Windows 10 backup utilities in Windows 11 to backup your files, system, partition or disk. Below are the comparison chart of them:  

  Backup and restore (Windows 7) File History  Back up files to OneDrive
Backup items user files, system, disk or partition users files files in the OneDrive folder
Backup destination internal or external hard drive, network or NAS internal disk, network or NAS OneDrive
Backup features schedule backup, incremental backup schedule backup, incremental backup real-time backup or sync

This may seem like a good idea, but you may run into all kinds of problems while using it, such as, file history drive disconnected, Windows 10 backup cannot add folder, file history doesn’t recognize this drive, system backup failed, cannot restore system image to smaller drive, etc. 

Thus, it’s suggested to use third-party free backup software for Windows 11, AOMEI Backupper Standard, for example, which is usually more compatible and has more advanced features

How to use Windows 11 best free backup software 

As mentioned before, it’s not safe to directly upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11 without a copy of your important files or system. And you need to create a factory image of Windows 11 after upgrading so as to restore computer to factory settings in case of unexpected errors. Here I'll introduce you best free backup software for Windows 11 and how to use it to protect your system and data on it.

All-in-one backup software: It supports backing up system, disk, files or folder, partition separately. Unlike Backup and Restore (Windows 7), it does not include non-system partition, thus, you can only choose to tick one or more partitions on the disk if you want to backup them.
Schedule Backup: It allows you to backup any items in daily, weekly, monthly. And you can keep multiple backups without overwriting previous backups.
Incremental backup: It's the default backup method and backup only changed files since the last backup, whether it's a full backup or incremental backup. Besides, it still supports differential backup in the professional version. For differences between them, check: Incremental or Differential Backup.
Other useful features: It is capable of compressing image, splitting image automatically, notifying backup status, creating bootable USB or CD/DVD to boot computer when it fails, etc.

Now you can download free backup software for Windows 11 and install it on your computer. Please prepare an external hard drive or other storage as backup destination and be sure it’s recognized.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

 (The following steps apply to Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista as well. And all the steps are exactly the same. For server users, try AOMEI Backupper Server.)

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Standard and click "System Backup" under the "Backup" tab.

Select System Backup

Notes:

  • If you only want to backup important files that will not occupy too much disk space, choose File Backup. If all of them on a specific partition, choose Partition Backup.
  • If you want to backup disk with all the data on it, including the operating system, installed program, personal data etc, choose Disk Backup.

Step 2. Then, it will select Windows 11 system partition and boot-related partitions required to boot Windows by default. Click the box in the lower location and select external hard drive as backup destination.

Select Backup Destination

Step 3. After selecting system partition and backup destination, click Start Backup to backup Windows 11.

Wait until the process is complete, you will have an exact copy of your system at this moment you back it up. But it will not include changes made later.

To protect it continuously, if you want, click Schedule Backup > Enable Schedule Backup, choose Daily, Weekly, or Monthly. And it is usually used with incremental backup in the Backup Scheme to backup only changed files.

In addition, you still can use the other two options in the advanced version, namely, Event trigger and USB plug in (to backup computer to USB flash drive automatically when it's plugged in) feature.

Schedule Backup

Now, this software will create a complete system backup first and then create 6 incremental backups, and repeat the process. This may result in another issue - backup disk full, and at this moment, you cannot backup any items unless you delete some of them.

However, you may delete the backup mistake, resulting in all the backup invalid. The incremental backup requires all the backup to be intact while recovery. Based on this consideration, you can change incremental backup to differential backup (supported by the professional version), which only requires one full backup and any differential backup. 

Besides, you can choose to enable cleanup methods (By quantity, By time, By daily/weekly/monthly) and delete old backup image automatically. And you ensure there is always enough space to keep new backup image.

Backup Scheme

In addition, if you want to get the backup result timely, you can enable Email notification in the Options. Also, you can change compression level to High, customize the splitting size, password protect backup image(upgrade is required.), etc. 

Backup Options

Sometimes, you may intend to backup system without Windows due to different reasons. You can choose to create a bootable meida with USB or CD/DVD and make a recovery environment in advance. The latter is to add boot menu on the current computer, so it does not require any device to store boot files.

You just need to restart your computer and then you will see an option like Enter into AOMEI Backupper. Select it and you will see the main page AOMEI Backupper Standard just as in Step 1. Then, you can backup system without booting into Windows or perform offline restore if you want.

Recovery Environment

Wrapping things up

AOMEI Backupper is one of the best Windows 11 free backup software, but not limited to this, it still supports Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista. You can use it to backup system/disk/file/partition and it is rich in features, thus you can schedule backup them in daily, weekly, monthly, enable incremental or differential backup, set cleanup methods, etc. 

Besides, it's still a disk clone software, thus you can use it to clone hard drive to SSD, clone larger drive to smaller drive, replace laptop HDD with SSD, etc. If you want to use it on unlimited PCs or servers, try AOMEI Backupper Technician or Techplus edition.