Complete Guide to Backup Specific Folders on Windows 11 | 5 Ways

Want to know how to back up specific folders on Windows 11? This article provides 5 different ways, including the copy feature, Windows 11 built-in backup tool File History, Backup and Restore (Windows 7), OneDrive and free third-party software - AOMEI Backupper.


By Yuka Updated on November 2, 2022

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Why backup certain folders on Windows 11?

There are many benefits of backing up files or folders on Windows 11. The most obvious advantage is to ensure data security and keep files up to date. For users who frequently use certain folders, they may change files, add files, and delete files in these folders. Backing up your folders can avoid the annoyance of losing files.

In addition, if you do not create folder backups, you may lose files once and for all in the event of an unexpected situation (such as disk failure, virus, malware, fire, flood, etc.). And you never know when these failures occur.

Backup Specific Folders on Windows 11

How to backup specific folders on Windows 11

To avoid data loss, you need to backup files or folders in advance. As for how to backup specific folders on Windows 11, 5 ways are provided below, you can choose one according to your needs.

#1. Manually copy Windows 11 folder to external drive as a backup

Alternatively, you can manually copy a folder to a backup location instead of using an application or tool. Steps are as below:

  1. Attach an external drive to your computer.
  2. Go to the folder that you want to backup and right-click on it. Select the Send to option and select external drive you connected. Then, your folder will successfully start transferring to the external drive.

Copying Process

#2. Backup selected files using File History

File history is a built-in Windows backup tool used to back up all folders and files in the user's home directory, including Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop. Windows users can use the backup created by File History to restore the original file that was lost or damaged. File History also allows you to browse the backup timeline, select the version you want and restore it.

To backup certain folders on Windows 11 via File History, follow the steps below:

  1. Press Windows + I to open Settings or click on Start Menu and select Settings.


  1. In Windows Settings, click System -> Storage.

Windows 11 System Storage

  1. On the System storage settings page, click on Advanced storage settings.

Advanced Storage Settings

  1. Select Backup options under Advanced storage settings.

Backup Options

  1. On the Backup options settings page, find the option Back up using File History and click Add a drive. After you select a drive, your Windows will back up your data every hour in your user folder (C:\Users\username).

Backup Using File History

  1. To customize your backup needs, click More options.

More Options

  1. You can customize the time and method of backing up files. You can also click Add a folder to add the folder you want to back up to File History.

Add a Folder

  1. When you’re done, save and exit.

#3. Backup specific folder to OneDrive on Windows 11

OneDrive is a storage service provided by Microsoft. It provides 5GB of free storage space and also allows you to access a free version of Microsoft Office.

To backup specific folder to OneDrive on Windows 11, follow the steps below:

  1. On the Backup options settings page, click on the link that reads “Sign in to OneDrive”.

Backup Files to OneDrive

  1. Then You’ll be prompted to enter your OneDrive account email address and password to sign in.

Sign in to OneDrive

  1. After logging in, you will proceed to the setup wizard.

OneDrive Setup Wizard

  1. When you’re done with the setup wizard, your OneDrive is ready to use and setup is complete. Click Open my OneDrive folder.

OneDrive is Ready

  1. Drag and drop or copy and paste the files/folders you want to backup into the OneDrive folder. The client will automatically sync them to the OneDrive website.

#4. Backup specific folders using Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

The entrance for reaching Backup and Restore (Windows 7) in Windows Settings has been removed and replaced with another backup utility – OneDrive backup. However, you can still access Backup and Restore through Control Panel.

To backup selected files using Backup and Restore (Windows 7), follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the Search icon (magnifier) in the center of the taskbar. Type Control Panel and click on the search result.

Windows 11 Control Panel

  1. In Control Panel, find and select Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Backup and Restore in Windows 11 Control Panel

  1. Then click Set up backup option to enter the data backup settings. Select where you want to save your backup and click Next to continue.

Set Up Backup

  1. Next, select what do you want to back up. Select Let me choose to customize files that you want to back up and click Next.

Let Me Choose

  1. Select the check box of the items you want to include in the backup. You can expand the directory and select the folder that needs to be backed up. If you don’t want to create a system image of Windows 11, uncheck the box of Include a system image of drives.

Select Specific Folders

  1. Check your backup settings. You can customize the backup frequency by clicking Change schedule. Then, the changed or new files since the last backup will be added to your backup according to the schedule you set.

Change Schedule

  1. Finally, when all settings are done, click the Save settings and run backup button.

#5. Automatic folder backup with the best free backup software

Although you can backup specific folders on Windows 11 through above-mentioned 4 ways, I want to introduce you to a simpler and more convenient method. AOMEI Backupper Standard is the best free backup software that allows you to perform automatic folder backup on Windows 11 effortlessly. Compared with the first four methods, what are its advantages?

✪ Avoid all kinds of errors in Windows built-in backup tools. Such as File History drive is disconnected, File History doesn’t recognize this drive, etc.
✪ Provide 4 backup types. You can perform System Backup, File Backup, Disk Backup, Partition Backup.
Support backup to multiple destinations. All the backup types support backing up to internal or external hard drives, cloud drives, network location and NAS devices. If you have an AOMEI account, you are able to
backup files to AOMEI Cloud.
✪ Get an Email notification when the backup is complete. When you encounter an emergency, you can leave without waiting for the final result. Later, the software will notify you of the result via email.
✪ Support all PCs running Windows OS. You can use it to backup specific folders in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, etc. with equally simple operation.

This is just the tip of the iceberg among its many functions. More powerful functions are worth exploring by yourself. The detailed steps for backing up specific folders with this software on Windows 11 are as follows:

Step 1. Download AOMEI Backupper Standard, install and launch it.

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

Step 2. Click Backup -> File Backup.

File Backup

Step 3. Click Add folder to select the specific folders you want to back up on Windows 11.

Add Specific Folders

Step 4. Then, select the device where you want to store the backup images on.

Select Destination

✬ Options:
You can write comments and modify the compression level of the backup here. After upgrading to AOMEI Backupper Professional Edition, you can encrypt your backups.
✬ Schedule: You can set automatic backup here. It will help users continuously backup data so you will never miss any changes.
✬ Scheme: If you upgrade to advanced versions, you can enable this feature to delete old backup images to ensure that there is always enough space to keep the new backup images.

Enable Automatic  Backup Cleanup

Step 5. Finally, after confirming all the backup settings, click Start Backup.


You can easily backup specific folders on Windows 11 through the 5 ways provided in this article. They are all good choices, but some are easier and better than others. Taking all factors into consideration, I suggest you use a third-party Free software-AOMEI Backupper. You can also use it to backup only new files to external hard drives.

In addition to the backup function, it is also embedded with other powerful functions such as Restore, Synchronization, and Clone. For instance, you can use it to move hard drive to new computer in Windows 11, perform a bootable clone on Windows 11, etc. Why hesitate? Use it now to protect your data!

Yuka · Editor
Yuka, our dedicated editor at AOMEI Technology, is committed to bringing you valuable insights and guidance in data protection. Her mission is to empower everyone with her knowledge in computer backup and recovery, disk cloning, file synchronization, and more. Yuka's goal is to do her best to make complex tech tasks simple and ensure that your digital world remains safe and secure.