Does Windows 7 automatically backup files?
"When I use Windows backup utility, it only lists DVD drive as destination. There is no network drive at all (and the tool does not seem to give you an option to search for it manually - just has a refresh button). Any help would be great."
Windows 7 backup and restore can help you make a system image backup or personal data automatically, and save it to external hard drive, CD/DVD, USB flash drive or network drive. But some users report that Windows 7 backup network drive not visible. That's because the network discovery and file sharing is disabled, or the computer you are currently using is Windows 7 home version that does not support backing up to network drive.
So now, you can turn on the network discovery and file sharing. If this is not the problem of network drive not showing in Windows 7, you could consider upgrading to advanced version, such as, Pro, Education, Ultimate.
If you don't want to, it doesn't matter, this article will solve this problem for you. For Pro and other advanced version’s user, you can use Windows Backup and Restore. For Home user, you need to use VHD or network backup software AOMEI Backupper Professional. Honestly, directly using this software will be much easier. You can backup to any network location.
What do you need to backup in Windows 7?
Windows 7 are still widely used in worldwide, so it's necessary to backup Windows 7 to external hard drive or network location. But you may be wondering what we should to back up? Below are answer for you.
If your computer is not a new one, it usually has an operating system, installed programs, and your personal data. Now, let's start with operating system. It's used to boot your computer and you can resintall a fresh copy when it crashes or unbootable. After installing, you need to configure personal settings from scratch, such as, background, sounds, screensavers etc. What's more, you need to spend much time in reinstalling all the programs you will use. In addition, your personal data will go and never be back.
Then, for the installed programs on your computer. If the programs run into issues, you only need to install them again. It's said, certain programs have reactivation problems. It seems to be troublesome.
At last, for your precious files. Unlike operating system, installed programs, your files will disappear or at least be useless if it's deleted, damaged or infected. So, if you don't have enough space or more budget, backing personal files is the priority. But if you are tired of reinstalling Windows and apps, you still need to backup system or disk that will include programs and other things.
2 common ways to auto backup Windows 7 to network drive
Now, it's time to backup your precious files, installed programs or system in Windows 7. Here are two common used ways, including Backup and Restore, VHD. If you want an easier way to auto backup Windows 7, directly go to the next part.
Method 1: Automated Backup Windows 7 to Network drive via Windows Backup and Restore
This method is suitable for users who are using Pro, Education and Ultimate or preparing for upgrade. Please note that Windows backup and restore will overritten previous backup and only keep the lastest version. Then, follow the detailed steps to automatic backup file or system in Windows 7.
Step 1. Click Start menu on the taskbar, then type Backup and Restore in the search box and select it from the result list.
Step 2. Click Set up backup or Change settings to summon the next window.
Step 3. Select Save on a network and type Network Location, Username, Password, then click Next. Also, you can automatic backup Windows 7 to external hard drive like HDDs, USB flash drive, CD/DVD, or internal hard drive.
Step 4. Select Let Windows choose or Let me choose, then click Next.
Step 5. Select folders you want to backup and click Next. If you tick Let me choose, please tick "Include a system image of drives..." and it will backup system as well.
Step 6. Review the selected folders and click Save settings and run backup. By default, the schedule setting is set to 7:PM every sunday and the backup type is incremental backup. If you want to change the settings, click Change schedule and select your preference.
Method 2: Automatic backup Windows 7 to network drive via VHD
Windows 7 home backup to network drive is a little tricky, because this version does not support saving on network. But it gives you an option to create VHD (Virtual Hard Drive) that can achieve this goal.
Step 1. Click Start menu on the taskbar, then select Computer.
Step 2. Click Tools and Map network drive
Step 3. Specify a drive letter for your network drive.
Step 4. Specify the path of the specified folder on the network drive and click Finish. You can click Browse to find the path or directly type IP address of the network drive and specify a shared folder.
Step 5. Then, you need to schedule backup Windows 7 using a third-party backup software. Most of them can support using mapped network drive as destination path. AOMEI Backupper is one of the reliable software, which allows you to automatic backup Windows 7 to VHD.
• In all version of Backup and Restore, you are not allowed to use VHD as destination path.
• If the mapped network drive not showing up, you can modify UAC in Registry Editor, network proxy settings or turn on Windows SMB feature.
Easier Way to Auto backup Windows 7 to network drive
By comparison, this software will be easier and more flexible. It not only allows you to backup Windows 7 to network drive, but also to VHD, external hard drive, NAS, cloud drive like Dropbox, etc. More so, you can also backup external hard drive like CD/DVD, USB thumb drive, to any device detected by Windows. In addition, you can create all backup types in one software, including file backup, system backup, disk backup, and partition backup.
For automatic backup, you can set up daily backup, weekly backup, monthly backup. Also, it supports differential backup, not just incremental backup. And the incremental backup is not prior choice, because it requires all the incremental image files to be complete. Besides, you can enable email notification to see if your full backup is completed successfully.
Before coming to our point, you need to download AOMEI Backupper Professional and be sure you know the network drive path, username and password. Then, see below.
Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper and enter the main page. In this Window, you can click Backup at the left panel, then click File Backup.
Step 2. Click Add File or Add Folder and select the files or folders you would like to backup.
Step 3. Click the triangle button and tap on select a network location, then add network drive by providing its accurate infomation.
If your operating system is Windows 10, you can directly backup to OneDrive. OneDrive comes with Windows 10, so you do not need extra storage device.
Step 4. (Recommended). Click Schedule and then click OK to exit this window. This software set the default settings to daily incremental backup, so you just need to enable schedule.
Differential backup can help you save time and disk space and it does not be influenced by image file in the schedule. More so, it overcomes the shortcoming of incremental backup. For incremental backup, if one image file damaged, the rest of backup will be invalid.
To set a differential backup without cost, you need to create a single file backup first, then enable different backup at the home page. To be specifically, select the backup > three horizontal lines at the right side> Schedule > Advanced and tick Differential Backup manually.
Step 5. After you set up settings, you can click Start Backup. Next, the only thing is to wait for the result and check it.
Note: Nowdays, there are increasingly storage devices. However, they may be damaged or corrupted owing to many reasons, such as, local disk or partition error, virus attack, fire, etc. Besides, the external hard drive and USB may be stolen. Thus, it's suggested to follow 3-2-1 backup strategy, and create 3 copy of your files, save it to 2 different locaytion and retain 1 off-site backup.
Automatic backup Windows 7 to network drive is difficult for Windows 7 home user. But you still can backup to VHD with AOMEI Backupper or directly use this software. It can be used on all versions of Windows 7 computers, including Windows 7 home, Windows 7 ultimate, etc. It supports different backup, which cannot be affected by image file in the schedule backup.
With AOMEI Backupper, you can create a system backup, sync folder to network drive, clone disk to larger disk, etc. All of these operations can protect your computer and reduce the risk of data loss. Download it and try it for yourself.
If you want to protect unlimited computers within your company, you can pick AOMEI Backupper Technician. With the inbuilt AOMEI Image Deploy tool, you are also allowed to deploy/restore system image file on server-side computer to multiple client-side computers over network.