By Delia / Last update September 29, 2021

Why Backup Windows 11 to Network Drive

For Windows users who frequently use computers, there must be a lot of important data to treasure. The problem is that backing up data to local disk is risky. Once the system crashes or the hard disk is corrupted, boot-up becomes impossible, not to mention data or system recovery.

For better data protection, you can backup Windows 11 OS & files to network location like NAS or mapped drive, thus even if your computer breaks down, you can access these backup files through network. In the following article, you will find 3 methods to make Windows 11 backup to network drive.

windows 11 backup options

How to Create Shared Folder and Network Drive in Windows 11

A network drive could be a NAS or mapped shared folder. If you’ve got a NAS as backup storage, then there’s no problem. But if you are not familiar with network share, you can follow this guide:

☛ How to share a folder in Windows 11:

1. Navigate to the folder you want to share, right-click it and choose Properties.

2. Switch to Sharing tab, click Share… and hit the down arrow to choose who you want to share the folder with. If you want to allow everyone on the network to access this folder, just choose Everyone and click Add > Share.

3. Back to the Sharing tab, click Advanced Sharing… and tick Share this folder. Then in the section below, you can give it a name, and edit its Permissions.

create shared folder

When you choose a network share as the target path, the backup may fail in some cases, and the image file is also not very easy to access. Therefore, you could consider mapping it as a network drive. It will assign a drive letter on your local computer, as thus you can easily access the files in shared location.

☛ How to create a network drive in Windows 11:

1. Please first open File Explorer, and find This PC on the left pane.

2. Right-click it, choose Show more options > Map network drive… in the menu.

map network drive

3. Choose a drive letter, and input the path of the shared folder in the textbox.

choose drive letter and path

4. Click Finish to execute it. Then you will find the mapped network drive under This PC.

Then, you can try following methods to backup Windows 11 to network drive.

How to Backup Data to Network Drive in Windows 11

Compared to Windows 10, Windows 11 mainly adds an option to backup files to OneDrive. You can still use old features like File History and Backup and Restore (Windows 7) to backup Windows 11 to network location, but the approaches have changed a bit.

First, please launch System Settings through Start > Settings or Win + i shortcut.

Then you can navigate to System > Storage > Advanced storage settings > Backup options.

Alternatively, you can search for them directly, or find them in Control Pane > Large icons/small icons.

control pane backup options

▶ If you want to auto backup user folder to network drive, then choose File History.

▶ If you want to backup specific libraries or system image to network drive, then choose Backup and Restore.

▶ If you want a more comprehensive and efficient Windows backup solution for file/partition/disk/OS, try Method 3.

Method 1. Windows 11 File History

1. Here you can launch File History from Control Pane, and click Select drive on the left side to Add network location.

2. Specify a network location in the pop-up window. To choose a mapped drive, you can choose This PC on the left-top corner. Then find this drive under Network locations, and click OK to confirm it.

3. After selecting a drive, you can Turn on File History service.

file history turn on

4. Thus the user folders will be auto backed up to the selected network drive. You can also Exclude folders that you don’t want to back up.

file history exclude folders

Or go to Advanced settings to configure backup frequency and retention policy.

file history advanced settings

Method 2. Windows 11 Backup and Restore

1. Launch Backup and Restore (Windows 7) from Backup options or Control Pane.

2. Then you can see the familiar Backup and Restore window. As always, you can click Set up backup if you want to backup selected libraries & folders, and click Create a system image if you want to create a full system backup.

3. Here take system backup as an example. Click Create a system image on the top-left corner.

create system image

4. In the popping out window, you can choose On a network destination and click Select > Browse to specify a NAS or shared folder and click OK.

choose destination

5. Click Next to continue the wizard. In addition to the required drives for Windows to run, you can also include additional drives as you like.

choose what to backup

6. In the Next page, confirm the operation and click Start backup to execute it.

start backup

Method 3. Easier Tool to Backup Windows 11 to Network Location

Whether you want to back up your Windows 11 files or operating system to a network folder or mapped drive, there is an easier solution - AOMEI Backupper Standard. This free backup software supports all Windows OS (11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, etc.) and allows you to back up files, partitions, disk, OS with simple clicks.

As for the backup destination, you can choose internal/external hard drive, network share, NAS, USB flash drive and cloud service. If you want to execute a task regularly, you can set up an automatic backup with Schedule options.

Download the freeware to have a try:

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

How to backup Windows 11 to network drive:

1. Install the software and launch it, then navigate to Backup tab. You will find multiple options to choose from: System Backup, Partition Backup, Disk Backup and File Backup.

Here I will take File Backup as an example to backup files to network drive in Windows 11.

file backup

2. Click Add Folder or Add File to specify the data you want to backup. You can add multiple items as you like.

add folder or file

3. Click on the small down arrow beside the destination select box, choose Select a network location.

*If you want to backup Windows 11 to cloud drive, then choose Select a cloud drive.

select network location

In the popping out window, click Add Share or NAS Devices at the left bottom corner, and enter the path of your network drive. The added path can be used directly the next time.

add nas or share

4. Now you can further configure the backup, e.g. create a Schedule on basis of daily/weekly/monthly, or click Options to comment, compress, split the backup. Then, click Start Backup to execute it.

Move advanced features can be found in Professional edition:

  • Filter settings: Specify the file suffixes you want to include or exclude from the source folder.
  • Backup scheme: Set up a rule to auto delete older backups and save storage space.
  • Universal restore: Restore system from another computer with different hardware and ensure secure boot.
  • Real-time sync: Sync changed files from source folder to target folder in real time.

Conclusion

Backing up Windows 11 to a network drive provides better data protection than a local disk backup, and makes it possible to access the backup files from other computers in the LAN. This article provides 3 methods to backup your important files or OS to network location in Windows 11. Among them, AOMEI Backupper is the simplest one, and it also offers the most comprehensive set of features.

In addition to providing data protection, it is also a powerful cloning software. For example, when you purchase a new SSD and do not want to reinstall OS, then you can use this software to directly migrate Windows 11 to SSD.