Windows 11 Backup and Restore: Full Guide and Alternative

You will learn the difference of Windows 11 Backup and Restore and Windows 10 and how to use it to backup files as well as its best alternative way.


By Clytze Updated on March 22, 2024

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Does Windows 11 have Backup and Restore?

With the release of Windows 11, many users have downloaded and installed it. After upgrading to the new operating system, besides some new features and graphical interface, including centered Start menu, taskbar, rounded corners windows, etc, users are also very interested in the changes of the built-in tool Backup and Restore in Windows 11.


Yes, Windows 11 still has the Backup and Restore feature, and you can use it to backup your new Windows system or other important files. If there is a problem with your system or file, you can use the backup to restore it.

However, it is worth noting that the entrance to the Backup and Restore in Windows 11 has changed, the original entrance has been removed and replaced by the OneDrive backup feature.

  • In Windows 10, you can access the Windows 10 backup software - Backup & Restore from Settings > Update & Security > Backup > Backup and Restore (Windows 7). 
  • In Windows 11, you can follow 2 paths, that is Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore (Windows 7) or you can go to Settings > System > Storage > Advanced Storage options > Backup options, then scroll down to Looking for an older backup and select Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

👉 How to Backup OS and Files with Windows 11 Backup and Restore
👉 How to Backup Files with Windows 11 File History
👉 Best Windows 11 Backup and Restore Alternative (Freeware)
👉 Bonus Tip: How to Backup Multiple Windows 11 PCs
👉 FAQs about Windows 11 Backup and Restore

How to Backup OS and Files with Windows 11 Backup and Restore

If you want to backup your system and files with Windows 11 Backup and Restore, you can follow the graphic tutorial below.

Step 1. Go to Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Backup Restore Win 11

Step 2. Select the Set up backup option under the Backup section.

Set Up Backup

Step 3. If prompted, enter your admin password.

Step 4. Select your Backup Drive and click Next.

Select Backup Destination

Step 5. Select Let Windows Choose option and click Next. It will backup files about users, such as files saved in libraries, on the desktop, and in default Windows folders. It will also create a system image.

Let Windows Choose

✡ Note: You can choose the second option to select libraries and folders and whether to include a system image in the backup. The items you choose will be backed up on a regular schedule.

Step 6. Click Save settings and run backup button.

Change Schedule

✡ Note: By default, it will automatically backup files at every Sunday 7:00 PM, but you can change this setting to suit your needs by clicking Change Schedule.

Restore files using Backup and Restore

To restore lost or damaged files, launch Backup and Restore (Windows 7) again and click on Restore my files button under "Restore" section.

Restore My Files

How to Backup Files with Windows 11 File History

Step 1. Connect an external hard drive to your computer first. Next, navigate to System > Storage > Advanced storage settings > Backup Options. Then click  Add a drive option under Back up using File History.

Add A Drive

Step 2. Click "on" under the "Automatically back up my files" option.

Automatically Back Up My Files

Step 3. Select "More options" to configure how often File History backs up, how long it keeps those backup copies, and which files it backs up.

▶ Back up my files: By default, File History backs up your files every hour, but you can change this setting. You have the different options of doing it from 10 minutes to 24 hours.

▶ Keep my backups: It is set to keep backups forever by default, but you can change this setting to keep them from one month to two years before deleting them.

▶ Back up these folders: You can view the full list of folders in this window and add more folders you want to backup by selecting "Add Folder". You can also choose a folder here and use the "Delete" button to prevent Windows from backing it up.

Backup These Folders

Step 4. When you’re done, save and exit. Then click Back up now. Windows 11 will automatically backup your files to the drive when you connect it to your computer.

Restore files using File History

If you lose your data, you can restore it as follows:

1. Go to Control Panel > System and Security > File History.

2. Click on Restore personal files in the left panel.

 Restore Personal Files

Best Windows 11 Backup and Restore Alternative (Freeware)🔥

Backup and Restore, as a popular built-in tool, can basically satisfy users' backup and restore needs. However, it still has some drawbacks, such as it doesn't support differential backup.

To avoid these problems, you can choose a more professional and secure alternative tool, such as AOMEI Backupper Standard to help you backup Windows 11. It provides multiple backup solutions including System Backup, Disk Backup, Partition Backup and File Backup, so you can backup anything and restore it easily. It has the following advantages.

AOMEI Backupper
Free Backup and Restore Software
  • Provide three backup methods: incremental backup, differential backup, and full backup. Incremental backup can help you save target disk space while keeping your backups up-to-date.
  • Support schedule backup, like daily, weekly, or monthly backup, and provide different backup modes (intelligent sector backup or exact backup) and various compression levels (high/normal/low).
  • Support backing up to external hard drive, USB, HDD, SSD, and multiple storage devices. It has good compatibility with all Windows operating systems.
  • You can write comments to your backups and set up email notifications.

Now you can follow the steps below to backup your Windows 11 files. If you'd like to backup Windows 11 OS, try the System Backup feature.

Step 1. Download AOMEI Backupper Standard, install and launch the software. Select "Backup" > "File Backup."

File Backup

Step 2. Click "Add File" or "Add Folder", then select the files or folders to be backed up.

Add Folders Files

Step 3. Choose the destination for your backup.

Select Destination

More options you could use: 
✾ Options: 
It allows you to compress or split an image file and enable email notification.
✾ Schedule Backup: It supports setting a backup task to run automatically at fixed intervals, such as daily, weekly, and monthly.
✾ Backup Scheme: It will backup only changed files with incremental or differential backup and delete old backups automatically to save target disk space. And some of these features are available in AOMEI Backupper Professional and higher versions.

Step 4. Click "Start Backup" to execute this backup task with Windows 11 backup software.

Now, you have a duplicate copy of the original files. To keep it safer, it's suggested to backup to one more location, such as backup folders to AOMEI Cloud, a cloud with 1TB of free storage, and you have 15 days of free access after registration.


Restore files or OS using AOMEI Backupper

If your files are lost or the operating system is corrupted, you can restore files or OS by clicking Restore > Select Task or Select Image File. Then follow the wizard to complete the recovery process.

Select Task

Bonus Tip: How to Backup Multiple Windows 11 PCs👍

If you are an enterprise user who has multiple Windows 11 devices that need to be backed up, you can try the best enterprise backup software - AOMEI Cyber Backup. It offers you all-around enterprise data backup solutions:

  • It enables you to create system/disk/partition backup for a bunch of Windows PCs from one central console.
  • You are allowed to save backup images on a local disk, external hard drive, network share or NAS device, etc.
  • You can schedule a backup task to run every day/week/month using the full/incremental/differential backup method.

Download this powerful enterprise backup software now to have a try!

Download FreewareEasiest Enterprise Backup Software
Secure Download

To make backups for client computers, just log in AOMEI Cyber Backup, and add the Windows device that you want to backup. Then click Backup Task on the left menu bar and select Backup Task Create New Task.

Create New Task

Note: AOMEI Cyber Backup can not only help you backup physical machines but also virtual machines. It enables you to backup Hyper-V and VMware easily.

FAQs about Windows 11 Backup and Restore

#1. Does Windows 11 have a built in backup program?

Yes, Windows 11 includes built-in backup program - Backup and Restore and File History. Backup and Restore can help you create system images and File History allows you to back up your files to an external drive or a network location.

#2. How do I make a full backup of Windows 11?

To create a full backup of Windows 11, you can use the built-in tool Backup and Restore or utilize the professional free backup software, AOMEI Backupper, to create a system image.

#3. Does Windows Backup and Restore save everything?

Windows Backup and Restore, specifically the system image feature, is designed to create a snapshot of your entire system, including the operating system, system files, programs, settings, and personal files. This means it captures everything necessary to restore your system to the state it was in when the backup was created.

#4. How do I backup my Windows 11 to an external hard drive?

Backup and Restore/File History both allow you to create Windows 11 backup to external hard drive. You can connect your external drive in advance and turn to the specific tool for creating a backup.

#5. What is the difference between File History and Backup and Restore in Windows 11?

File History primarily focuses on backing up personal files, while Backup and Restore can create system image backups along with files.


This article introduces you the difference of Windows 11 backup and restore features as well as how to use the built-in tools Windows 11 "Backup and Restore" or "File History" to backup files. You can choose any of them to help you to backup files.

Besides, you can use a free and professional file backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard to help you. It can backup anything and restore it easily. What's more, if you need to restore your system to a computer with different hardware, its Universal Restore function in the professional edition can also help you to do it easily.

In addition, it is also a free SSD migration tool so that you can migrate your operating system simply to SSD. You can download AOMEI Backupper to explore more useful functions.

Clytze · Editor
Clytze, an editor at AOMEI Technology, is passionate about safeguarding your digital world. She dedicates her expertise to empower users like you in data security and recovery. She firmly believes that everyone should have the tools and knowledge to protect their digital assets through computer backup, seamless disk cloning, and efficient file synchronization. Clytze is your trusted guide on the journey to data safety.