Top 3 Free Windows 10 Backup Utilities (For Beginners)

This article is written for Windows 10 users who want to backup and restore OS, programs, and personal files in order to transfer files or protect data.


By Ivy Updated on March 24, 2023

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Why Would You Need A Windows 10 Backup?

Backing up your Windows 10 device is crucial for several reasons. We have summarized some of the common causes as follows:

💻 Protection against hardware failure. Computers can fail at any time due to hardware problems such as hard drive crashes, power surges, or even theft. By backing up your data, you can ensure that you don't lose important files and data in the event of such an event.
👾 Protection against viruses and malware. A backup copy of your data can also protect you from viruses and malware that can corrupt or delete your files. If you have a backup, you can easily restore your data and avoid losing important files.
😨 Recover from accidental deletion. People may accidentally delete files, documents, photos or other important data. If you have a backup, you can easily recover lost data without any hassle.
🧱 Data protection during system updates. Sometimes, computer updates can lead to data loss. Backing up your data before installing any updates will ensure that you are protected against any data loss.
💟 Peace of mind. Backing up your computer can give you peace of mind knowing that your important data is safe and secure.

In conclusion, backing up your Windows 10 device is crucial to protect your important data and avoid its loss. Therefore, it is recommended to back up your computer regularly to ensure that your data is always safe and secure.

Choose A Suitable Windows 10 Backup Utility

Backup utilities are necessary for users to protect their data and systems, it allows to make exact copies of them and you can restore them quickly in case of a disaster. In Windows 10, you can find two free backup software in the backup settings, namely File History and Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

In addition, you can still try third-party backup software, such as AOMEI Backupper Standard, which is described in detail below. Before backing up your Windows 10 computer, you should pay attention to the following points.

  • Determine what data needs to be backed up. This will help you to choose the right backup method and storage device.
  • Choose the right backup method. There are different types of backup methods, such as full backup, incremental backup and differential backup. Choose the one that best suits your needs.
  • Choose a storage device. You can back up your data to an external hard drive, USB drive, cloud storage, or network drive. Choose one that provides enough space and meets your needs.
  • Check the storage device. Before backing up your data, make sure the storage device is working properly and has enough space to store your data.

Backup Windows 10 Using AOMEI Backupper Standard

The free yet powerful Windows 10 backup software -  AOMEI Backupper Standard, is able to backup files, system, disk, partition and then restore them. Also, you are allowed to create bootable media in case of system failure or hard disk crashes. And you can enjoy the following features in this software:

User friendly interface. Thanks to its intuitive interface, the software is easy to use, even for beginners.
Various backup modes. It supports various backup modes, including full backup, incremental backup and differential backup, allowing users to choose the best solution according to their needs.
Quick backup and restore. The software is fast and efficient, allowing users to quickly backup and restore their data.
Different backup destinations. It supports users to backup to USB, SD card, internal and external disks, cloud services, NAS and network locations, etc.
Daily/weekly/monthly schedule backup: It supports backing up file, system, disk and partition automatically and keeps multiple backups for you. Thus, you can restore to any previous backup versions, not limited to one version.
Other useful features: You can compress your backup with normal or high compression level. 
👎 Cons:
Some of the features require payment to use. There is a free version of this software that anyone can download. If you are just using it as a daily backup then the features it can provide are perfectly adequate. If you want to get the most out of it, you need a paid package. The Professional plan is for personal use and costs $39.95 per computer for a lifetime license. The Workstation plan is for corporate use and costs $59.95 per computer for a lifetime license. You can go to the AOMEI store to learn more.

Here is an example of backing up Windows 10 to an external hard drive to show you how to use this software. Please download this software and install it on your computer. Then, connect the external hard drive to your computer and make sure it can be detected.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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(PS: If you're a Windows Server user, please try AOMEI Backupper Server edition.)

━ To create system image backup in Windows 10:

Launch this software, click "System Backup" and select external disk as destination path, then click "Start Backup". This software will automatically select the C: drive and boot-related partitions when creating system image backup in Windows 10. 

System Backup

Now you may already get a copy of your system, but this is a single backup task (also called manual backup), which will not include changes made later.

━ To backup them continuously:

Set Schedule Backup in this software. You have 5 options, namely, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event trigger, USB plug in for different backup purposes.

Schedule Backup

Incremental backup does a big favor of saving backup time and disk space in the scheduled task. However, in the long run, your backup disk is still fulfilled and you need to delete old backup image manually or automatically.

The previous one may result in all the subsequent backups being invalid if you delete backup in the middle. In this case, you can choose to use differential backup or enable automatic backup cleanup methods in the Backup Scheme to delete backup file automatically.

Incremental or Differential Backup

━ To restore Windows 10 backup image:

Anyway, you have a copy of the system partition and can restore Windows 10 from backup with the following steps. Click "Restore" and "Select Task", choose a system image and destination path, then click "Start Restore". 

Restore Windows 10

Notes ✎...
• If your backup is not recognized, you need to click "Select Image File" instead of "Select Task".
• If you are restoring OS to different computer with dissimilar hardware, you are supposed to upgrade to use "Universal Restore", which can resolve the driver incompatibility of different computer and ensure secure boot.

━ To start up non-system computer:

If you want to restore system without booting into Windows, you can choose to create bootable media with USB or CD/DVD, or make a recovery environment to boot your computer from it. The last one is able to add a boot menu on the current computer and does not require any storage device.


Backup and Restore with Windows 10 File History

Windows 10 File History is a built-in feature that allows users to automatically back up their personal files and folders to an external drive or network location. The feature first rolled out in Windows 8 and has since been updated in Windows 10 to offer more advanced backup options.

👍 Pros:
Automatic backup. It backs up your files on a regular basis, ensuring your data is always safe and up to date.
Easy to use. It is very easy to set up and use, with a simple interface for selecting files and folders to back up.
Multiple backup locations. You can choose to back up your files to an external drive, a network location, or even a cloud storage service like OneDrive.
Version management. It keeps multiple versions of a file, so you can easily restore an earlier version if needed.
👎 Cons:
Limited backup options. It only backs up personal files and folders, so it cannot back up the system or applications.
Limited recovery options. It can only restore files to their original location, not to a different location.
Dependency on external storage devices. It requires an external drive or network location to back up files, so if you don't have access to those devices, you won't be able to use this feature.
Limited customization options. So you can't choose specific backup settings or schedules.

To automatic backup files on Windows 10 to external hard drive or network location, type backup settings and select it, then click " + " button next to Add a drive, and choose external hard drive or network drive as backup locations, finally click "More options" and "Back up now".

By default, the schedule backup interval is "Every Hour" and backup retention is "Forever". If you think that such a frequent backup will take up too much space, you can change it to a longer interval and shorter retention time. Also, you can exclude or backup certain folders by clicking "Add a folder" under related header.

Backup Files on Windows 10

To restore files from backup in Windows 10, you can type "restore files" in the search box and selecr "Restore your files with File History", use the left arrow or right arrow to find your files and click the green button to restore your files to original location. Also, you can use "Restore Previous Versions" from the context menu. It's much easier. 

Select One Backup

Create A System Image with Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

Windows 10's "Backup and Restore (Windows 7)" feature allows users to create backups of their important files and system settings, similar to Windows 7's "Backup and Restore" feature. Accessible through the control panel, this feature allows users to create data backups and restore them in case of system failure or data loss.

👍 Pros:
Easy to use. The backup and restore functions are straightforward and easy to use.
Customizable. Users can choose which files and folders they want to back up.
Automatic backup scheduling. Users can schedule automatic backups to run at specific times or intervals.
System image backup. Users can create a complete system backup including system settings, programs and files.
👎 Cons:
There is no cloud backup option. The backup exists locally, which means it is vulnerable to system failure, theft or natural disasters.
Limited backup options. The backup and restore feature does not allow users to back up individual settings or applications.
Limited backup location options. Users can only save backups to external hard drives, network locations, or DVDs.
Slow backups: Backing up large files or system images can take a long time.
  1. To create system image Windows 10, go to backup settings and click "Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7)".
  2. Then click "Set up backup" > select external hard drive > tick "Let me choose".
  3. Tick items under Data Files > Tick system partition and other partition under Computer > tick "Include a system image backup..." and finally click "Save settings and run backup".

Backup Files on Windows 10

Notes ✎...
• The default schedule backup is 7:00PM every Sunday, and you can modify it to your preferences by clicking "Change schedule" at the last window. Also, you can click "Change settings" later at the first page of Backup and Restore (Windows 7).
• To manage backup space, go to "Backup and Restore (Windows 7)" and click "Manage space", then you will see two link, namely Data file backup and sytem image, just click the button below to free up disk space. 

To restore Windows 10 from backup,  you need to prepare a repair disc or recovery disk and ensure you have a working system image backup. Then, restart your computer and boot from the bootable media, click "Next" > "Repair your Computer" > "Troubleshoot" > "System Image Recovery" in order, select Windows 10 and "Use the lastest available system image (recommended), finally follow on-screen instructions to finish the rest of steps. 

Restore Windows 10 System Backup

Windows 10 Backup FAQs

✔ Is Windows 10 built in backup any good?

Honestly, Windows 10 backup software is a very popular choice for users and it indeed help you protect personal files and system to some extent. But some users report the following problem during use:

  • The backup image is not easy to manage due to the use of multiple software. You need to create a file backup with File History and complete system backup with Backup and Restore (Windows 7). And the system backup is not scheduled.
  • The File History schedule backup requires the external drive connected always, but receiving the "Reconnect your drive" error sometimes.
  • The most obvious flaw of Backup and Restore (Windows 7) is that the latest system backup will overwrite the previous one and it cannot be restored to a different computer. Also, you may be tired of its backup speed, very slow, or even overnight.

✔ How do I  backup my Windows 10 for free?

  • To backup your Windows 10 for free, you can use the built-in backup and restore feature called "File History" or "Backup and Restore (Windows 7).
  • In addition to using the built-in tools, you can also use the free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. The software allows you to create system backups, disk/partition backups and file backups. You can store backups on external hard drives, USB drives or in cloud storage.

✔ How do I back up everything on my Windows 10 computer?

  • Click Start, type backup in the Start Search box, and then click Backup and Restore in the Programs list. Click Back up files under Back up files or your entire computer. Select where you want to store the file backup, and then click Next.
  • Or you may try the Disk Backup feature in AOMEI Backupper to back up OS, settings, programs, and all personal data on the disk.

Final Suggests on Windows 10 Backup

You can clearly see the differences between Windows 10 backup utilities and choose them based on backup items and other options. It pretty much looks like this below:

To backup users folder, you can use any of the three tools.
To backup system or disk, try Backup and Restore (Windows 7) and AOMEI Backupper Standard. The previous one allows you to select other partitions on the disk while the latter one supports backing up system or disk directly.
If you want an all-in-one backup software, try AOMEI Backupper Standard. It is simple, complete and user-friendly.
Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.