Recovery plan

How to create a full backup of Windows 10 using Macrium Reflect

Macrium Reflect features all the necessary features that you need to create a full backup to protect your Windows 10 installation and personal files from hardware failure, malware, and data corruption.

Windows 10 full backup using Macrium Reflect

Although Windows 10 still include a feature to create a full backup of your device, you can also use third-party software like Macrium Reflect, which is a more robust backup solution for home and business users.

Macrium Reflect is a paid software, but it also offers a free edition with limited features. However, it’s enough for most users to create full as well as differential backups manually and automatically to protect an entire system and data.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to create a full backup of your entire computer running Windows 10 and files, as well as the steps configure a schedule to continue creating backups automatically.

How to create automatic full backups of Windows 10 with Macrium Reflect

Use these steps to set up automatic full backups of Windows 10 to an external drive using Macrium Reflect.

Connecting backup drive

Before you begin, connect the new drive to your computer’s motherboard. The process to connect a traditional HDD, SSD, and M.2 drives will be different per manufacturer and even computer model, as such make sure to check your computer manufacturer support website for more specific details.

You can connect a drive using a USB adapter, but you shouldn’t use an external drive as you can’t use it as a boot drive. However, you can use a USB external drive if you’re intending to create a backup, which you’ll restore to the same or different drive.

Installing Macrium Reflect

Use these steps to download and install Macrium Reflect on your device:

  1. Open Macrium Reflect download page.

  2. Click the Home Use button.

    Macrium Reflect home edition download
    Macrium Reflect home edition download
  3. Click the Continue button.

  4. Double-click the Macrium Reflect Download Agent.

  5. Click the Download button.

    Macrium Reflect download agent
    Macrium Reflect download agent
  6. Click the Next button.

  7. Click the Next button again.

  8. Accept the license to continue.

  9. Click the Next button.

  10. Select the Home option.

    Install Macrium home edition
    Install Macrium home edition
  11. Click the Next button.

  12. Clear the Register this installation of Macrium Reflect option.

    Macrium Reflect registration
    Macrium Reflect registration
  13. Click the Next button.

  14. Click the Install button.

Once you complete the installation, you can proceed to use the application to perform the full backup process.

Setting up full backup with Macrium Reflect

Use these steps to create a full backup of your computer on Windows 10:

  1. Open Macrium Reflect.

  2. Select the drives that you want to backup from the Create a backup tab, in the right side.

    Windows 10 drive to be backed up
    Windows 10 drive to be backed up
  3. Clear the drive to be used as the destination for the backup.

  4. Click the Image selected disks on this computer option from the “Backup” tab, in the left pane.

    Macrium Reflect full backup option
    Macrium Reflect full backup option
  5. Under the “Destination” section, select the Folder option.

  6. Click the three-dotted button on the right.

  7. Select the destination to store the full backup of Windows 10.

    Macrium Reflect backup destination setting
    Macrium Reflect backup destination setting
  8. Click the OK button.

  9. Click the Advanced Options button from the bottom-left corner.

    Macrium Reflect advanced options
    Macrium Reflect advanced options
  10. Click on Auto Verify Image from the “Backup” tab, in the left pane.

  11. Check the Verify image or backup file directly after creation option.

    Macrium Reflect verify full backup completion
    Macrium Reflect verify full backup completion
  12. Click the OK button.

  13. Click the Next button.

  14. Under the “Add/Edit Schedules” section, click the Add Schedule button, and select the Full option.

    Macrium Reflect full backup of Windows 10 schedule
    Macrium Reflect full backup of Windows 10 schedule
    Quick tip: You can also use the Select a Template for your Backup Plan drop-down menu to select a backup plan that includes a mixture of full, differential, and incremental backups. (The incremental backup option is only available for the paid version of the software.)
  15. Set a schedule for the full backup. For instance, you can configure Macrium Reflect to create a full backup of your computer every month.

    Set backup schedule on Windows 10
    Set backup schedule on Windows 10
  16. Click the OK button.

  17. (Optional) Under the “Add/Edit Schedules” section, click the Add Schedule button, and select the Differential option. (A differential backup is a backup that makes a copy of all the changes since the last full backup. Using the option, you’ll always need the latest full backup and latest differential to restore the most up-to-date data.)

    Differential backup schedule with Macrium Reflect
    Differential backup schedule with Macrium Reflect
  18. Set a schedule for the full backup. For instance, you can configure Macrium Reflect to create a full backup of your computer week month.

  19. Click the OK button.

  20. Under the “Define Retention Rules” section, specify how many copies of the backups (or days) should be kept before deleting the old backups to free up space in the backup drive.

    Macrium Reflect backup retention rules
    Macrium Reflect backup retention rules
  21. Click the Next button.

  22. Click the Finish button.

  23. Click the OK button. (You can skip the backup from running immediately by clearing the Run backup now option before saving the settings.)

    Macrium Reflect save backup settings
    Macrium Reflect save backup settings

Once you complete the steps, a full backup of Windows 10 and the drives you included will run at the schedule you specified. If your backup plan also includes a differential backup, then it’ll also run on schedule. Then if you ever need to recover your system, you’ll need the full backup and the most recent differential backup to restore your computer with the most up-to-date data.

How to create USB bootable recovery media with Macrium Reflect 

Use these steps to create a bootable media to recover your computer and data using Macrium Reflect:

  1. Open Macrium Reflect.

  2. Click the Other Tasks menu and select the Create Rescue Media option.

    Macrium Reflect Other Tasks option
    Macrium Reflect Other Tasks option
  3. Select the drive to create a bootable media. For example, USB flash drive.

    Create Macrium Reflect rescue drive
    Create Macrium Reflect rescue drive
  4. Click the Build button.

  5. Click the OK button.

  6. Click the Close button.

After completing the steps, you can use the USB bootable media to start your device to restore the full backup.

How to restore a full backup of Windows 10 with Macrium Reflect

Use these steps to recover your computer and data using Macrium Reflect on Windows 10:

  1. Start your PC with the USB bootable media.

    Quick tip: If your device doesn’t automatically boot with the USB media, you may have to change the boot order in the BIOS or UEFI. To open your device firmware, you’ll typically need to press a key (F2, F12, Delete, or Esc) immediately after you turn on your computer. For instructions on accessing the boot menu or changing the boot order, check your manufacturer’s support website.
  2. Click the Browser for an image or backup file to restore option from the left side, in the Restore tab.

    Macrium Reflect recovery environment
    Macrium Reflect recovery environment
  3. Browse to the .mrimg file.

  4. Select the backup.

    Recovery image using Macrium Reflect
    Recovery image using Macrium Reflect
  5. Click the OK button.

  6. Click the Restore Image button from the right size.

    Macrium Reflect restore image option
    Macrium Reflect restore image option
  7. Click the Next button. 

    Restore backup on Windows 10 using Macrium Reflect
    Restore backup on Windows 10 using Macrium Reflect
    Quick info: Macrium Reflect should intelligently restore the full backup on the destination drive. However, if you’re replacing or formatting the destination drive, you may need to drag the partitions that you want to restore from the Source to the Destination drive.
  8. Click the Finish button.

  9. Click the Continue button.

  10. Click the OK button.

  11. Click the Close button.

  12. Click the Power button from the bottom-left corner.

  13. Select the Reboot option.

  14. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, Macrium Reflect will restore the latest backup on your computer and files.