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How to backup Windows 10

You don't need to lose any data.
By
May 9, 2022

Windows 10 has a pretty great backup system built right in. You can backup the OS and settings and restore them at your convenience. Called System Image Recovery, this tool is easy to use, provided you know what you’re doing. Here’s how to backup Windows 10 and restore it.

Read more: The best external hard drives you can buy

QUICK ANSWER

To backup Windows 10, head over to Control Panel -> System and Security ->Backup and Restore (Windows 7) -> Create a system image and follow the process. You can boot into a Windows 10 installation DVD or USB and use the System Image Recovery under Troubleshoot options to restore the Windows 10 backup.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to create a backup in Windows 10

Windows 10 has a backup system built right into the operating system. Called System Image, it works rather well. The restore process can be tricky, but the backup is relatively easy. Before you begin, make sure you have an external drive with sufficient space to store the backup.

Open Control Panel via Windows search. Click System and Security.

Windows 10 control panel
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Click Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Windows 10 control panel system and security
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In the left pane, click the Create a system image button.

Windows 10 control panel backup and restore
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The System image creator will start. Pick the disk you want to use to save the backup. Your external drive should be connected by now and will be auto-detected. If it hasn’t, click the radio button next to On a hard disk. Click the drop-down menu and select your drive. Click Next.

Windows 10 backup disk selection
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Next up, you’ll see a list of the remaining disks and partitions you can back up. If you wish to, select the required ones by clicking the checkbox next to each. Click Next.

Windows 10 backup partition selection
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The final screen will show you your disk selections. Check that everything looks correct, and click Start backup.

Windows 10 backup final partition selection
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The backup will begin. It will take some time to finish, depending upon the size of the backup. Wait until the progress bar completes.

Windows 10 backup in progress
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Once the progress is complete, you will get a prompt asking if you want to create a System repair disc. You can click No here.

Windows 10 backup repair disk prompt
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Click Close to close the system image creator. Your backup is complete.

Windows 10 backup close
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Read more: How to install Windows 11

How to restore a backup on Windows 10

To restore a Windows 10 backup, you’ll need a Windows 10 installation disk or a bootable USB installer. Boot into the DVD or USB. If you need help getting into the boot menu, you can check the manufacturer’s site according to the brand of your motherboard/laptop. The Windows 10 installer will start.

Configure the language, time, currency, and keyboard layout settings, and click Next.

Windows 11 backup restore installation language
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Click Repair your computer.

Windows 11 backup restore repair computer
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Click the Troubleshoot option.

Windows 11 repair options
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We need the System Image Recovery tool moving forward. Click that option.

Windows 11 troubleshoot options
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The system image restore tool will ask you which operating system you want as the target. Click Windows 10.

Windows 10 system image recovery OS selection
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The backup folder will be automatically detected. Click Next to proceed.

Windows 11 restore backup start
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The next screen will show all available backups. Pick the right one by the date and time stamp. Click Next.

Windows 11 restore select date and time
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The restore will ask you to pick any additional restore options. Tick the boxes next to the ones you want to select, and click Next.

Windows 10 restore additional options
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Check to ensure you have the right settings on the final confirmation screen, and click Finish.

Windows 11 final confirmation
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A final warning will pop up. Click Yes to start the restore.

Windows 11 final confirmation warning
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That’s all. Sit back and wait for the restore to finish. Your system will boot into Windows 10 just like you had backed it up.


See moreHow to downgrade from Windows 11 to Windows 10