How to create file backup with Cobian on Windows 11

Here's how to use the Cobian app to create a file backup on Windows 11.

Cobian backup on Windows 11
Cobian backup on Windows 11

Cobian is a free and simple backup application that you can use on Windows 11 to create a backup of your files, and it’s a great alternative for File History, which is now a deprecated feature.

The application automates the process of creating file backups to another location on the same computer, USB hard drive, or over the network to a NAS, FTP, or SFTP server. Also, with Cobian, you can create multiple backup jobs and schedule them a different times. You can choose to make full, incremental, or differential backups, and you can even exclude or specify the files you want to include in the file backup, and there are options for compression and encryption.

The developer has two versions, including “Cobian Backup” for older versions of Windows and “Cobian Reflector” for Windows 10, 11, and later versions.

This guide will teach you the steps to use the Cobian Reflector backup app to create a file backup on Windows 11.

Create file backup with Cobian on Windows 11

On Windows 11, to create a backup with Cobian, you first need to install the application, and then you need to create a new backup job.

Install Cobian

To install the Cobian backup app on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Cobian website.

  2. Click the Cobian Reflector download option to save the file.

    Cobian Reflector download

  3. Double-click the downloaded file to launch the installation.

  4. Click the Next button.

  5. Accept the license agreement and click the Next button.

  6. Click the Next button.

  7. Under the “Service installation” section, select the “As an application (Autostart for all users)” option.

    Cobian install settings

  8. Click the Next button.

  9. Click the Install button.

  10. Click the Done button.

Once you complete the steps, you can open the app and create a job to back up your files.

Create file backup

To create a file backup with Cobian on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Cobian.

  2. Click the New task (+) button.

  3. Click on General.

  4. Confirm a descriptive name for the file backup task.

    Cobian backup settings

  5. Use the default selections for the “General settings.”

  6. Under the “Backup type” section, select the type of backup:

    • Full backup: Creates a complete backup of the files.
    • Incremental backup: Creates backup increments since the last full or incremental backup.
    • Differential backup: Create backup increments since the last full backup.
  7. Click on Files.

  8. Under the “Source” section, click the Add button and select the Directory option.

    Cobian backup source and destination

    Quick note: The software also allows you to back up to FTP or SFTP locations.
  9. Select the folder with the files to the backup.

  10. Click the Select Folder button.

  11. Under the “Destination” section, click the Add button and select the Directory option.

  12. Select the location to store the backup.

    Quick note: This can be a shared network folder, external USB drive, or another FTP or SFTP location.
  13. Click the Select Folder button.

  14. Click on Schedule.

  15. Under the Schedule type section, select the type of schedule. For example, daily, weekly, monthly, manually, etc.

    Cobian backup schedule

  16. Confirm the schedule depending on your selection.

  17. (Optional) Click on Archive.

  18. Under the “Compression type” section, select the “Compress files individually” option.

    Cobian backup compression settings

  19. Under the “Encryption” section, check the Encrypt files option.

  20. Confirm the encryption password.

  21. Under the “Compression level” section, use the slider and specify a level of compression. (The default option should work well in most cases.)

  22. (Optional) Click on Filter.

  23. Specify the files you want to include or exclude from the backup.

    Cobian backup filter settings

  24. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, Cobian Reflector will run the file backup with your specific settings at the specified time. However, you can always select the task and click the Run button to run the backup job immediately.

Restore files from backup

Usually, backup applications use proprietary file formats that require the use of the app to restore the data. However, Cobian uses a more straightforward approach as the app makes copies of the files to the destination, which means that you can browse the backup folder with File Explorer to select the files you want to restore.

In the case that the backup is using compression, then the files will be available inside a Zip folder.

To restore files with Cobian backup, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.

  2. Open the drive where the backup is stored.

  3. Browse to the location with the files to restore.

  4. Select the files, right-click the selection, and choose the Copy option.

    Cobian restore files

  5. Navigate to the location to restore the files.

  6. Right-click the folder and select the Paste option.

After completing the steps, the files will be restored to the specified location.

It’s important to note that Cobian is an application to create a backup of your files. You cannot use this software to create an image of the entire computer as you would with the System Image feature or other software, such as Veeam or Macrium Reflect.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.