Just in case

How to create a full backup on Windows 7

Are you about to upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7? Before you start the process, make sure to backup your files, apps, settings, and system. Here's how to do it.

Windows 7 full backup process

Microsoft has ended support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, which means that your device is no longer receiving security and maintenance updates, and there’s no more support from the company. 

If you are still using Windows 7, it’s now the time to upgrade to Windows 10, but before going through the process, it’s recommended to create a full backup with a copy of the installation as well as a copy of your settings, apps, and files, in case you need to roll back.

In the case that you are moving to a new clean installation of Windows 10, it’s also recommended to create a backup of your files stored on Windows 7, which you can then restore in the new installation.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to create a full backup and a file backup to protect your installation and files before upgrading to Windows 10. In addition, you will learn the steps to restore your computer if the upgrade presents any problems, and the steps to restore your files on Windows 7 on your new Windows 10 installation.

How to create full backup on Windows 7

To create a full backup of your Windows 7 device, use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.

  2. Click on System and Security.

  3. Click the Backup and Restore option.

    Windows 7 back and restore option
    Windows 7 back and restore option
  4. Click the Create a system image option from the left pane.

    Create system image backup option
    Create system image backup option
  5. Select the On a hard disk option.

  6. Select the external hard drive to backup your device.

    Select backup destination
    Select backup destination
  7. Click the Next button.

  8. Click the Start backup button.

    Start backup on Windows 7
    Start backup on Windows 7

Once you complete the steps, the backup process will begin, and at the end, you will be prompted to create a recovery disk, but you can ignore the option as you can use a Windows 7 installation USB media to access the recovery settings as needed.

How to restore full backup on Windows 7

To restore a backup to rollback to a previous Windows 7 installation, use these steps:

  1. Start device with Windows 7 USB media.

    Quick note: To start your computer with a bootable media, you may need to change the BIOS or UEFI settings. This process usually requires pressing one of the function keys (F1, F2, F10, or F12), the ESC or Delete key. For more specific instructions, it’s recommended to check your manufacturer support website.
  2. Click the Next button.

  3. Click the Repair your computer option from the bottom-left corner.

    Windows 7 setup
    Windows 7 setup
  4. Select the “Use recovery tools” options and “Windows 7” from the list.

    System recovery options on Windows 7
    System recovery options on Windows 7
  5. Click the Next button.

  6. Click the System Image Recovery option.

    Windows 7 system recovery option
    Windows 7 system recovery option
  7. Select the Use the latest available system image option.

    Select image recovery
    Select image recovery
  8. Click the Next button.

  9. Click the Next button again.

    Windows 7 format and partition drive
    Windows 7 format and partition drive
  10. Click the Finish button.

After you complete the steps, the device will go back to the previous installation, and you can start the upgrade process to Windows 10 one more time.

If you continue to have problems using the in-place upgrade process, then you should try to upgrade using a clean installation of Windows 10.

How to create file backup on Windows 7

If you only want to backup your files, you can connect an external drive to your computer and simply copy the files over, or you can use the file backup option on Windows 7.

To create a file backup on Windows 7, connect an external drive with enough space, and use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.

  2. Click on System and Security.

  3. Click the Backup and Restore option.

  4. Under the “Backup” section, click the Set up backup option.

    Windows 7 setup file backup
    Windows 7 setup file backup
  5. Select the external drive to backup your files.

    Select file backup destination
    Select file backup destination
  6. Click the Next button.

  7. Select the Let me choose option. (The Let Windows Choose is also a good option, but it includes a system image, and these steps are meant to create a file backup that you can restore on Windows 10.)

    Windows 7 choose backup items
    Windows 7 choose backup items
  8. Check the Back up data for newly create users and your account Libraries options.

  9. Use the Computer option to select additional files you may need to include in the backup.

  10. Clear the Include a system image of drives option.

    Select files to backup on Windows 7
    Select files to backup on Windows 7
  11. Click the Next button.

  12. (Optional) Click the Change schedule option to define when the system should perform regular backups.

  13. Click the Save settings and run backup button.

After you complete the steps, your files will copy over the external drive, which you can use to restore in your new installation of Windows 10.

How to restore Windows 7 file backup on Windows 10

To restore your files on Windows 10, connect the drive with the Windows 7 file backup to your computer, and use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.

  2. Click on System and Security.

  3. Click the Backup and Restore (windows 7) option.

  4. Under the “Restore” section, click the Select another backup to restore files from option.

    Windows 10 restore Windows 7 files
    Windows 10 restore Windows 7 files
  5. Select the Windows 7 file backup.

    Windows 10 select backup
    Windows 10 select backup
  6. Click the Next button.

  7. Click the Browse for folders button.

  8. Select the folder with the files that you want to restore from Windows 7.

  9. Click the Add folder button.

    Select Windows 7 folder to restore
    Select Windows 7 folder to restore
  10. Click the Next button.

  11. Select the In the following location option.

    Select restore location on Windows 10
    Select restore location on Windows 10
  12. Click the Browse button.

  13. Select the folder location to restore your files.

  14. Click the OK button.

  15. Click the Restore button.

  16. Click the Finish button.

Once you complete the steps, the folder with the files from Windows 7 will restore to the folder destination that you specified.