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 is set to end support of Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, which means that after that day your device will stop getting security and maintenance updates, and you’ll no longer be able to receive any kind of support from the company.

If you’re 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 that includes a copy of the installation as well as a copy of your settings, apps, and files, in case a problem occurs and you need to roll back.

In the case that you’re moving to a new clean installation of Windows 10, it’s also recommended to create a backup of your files store 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 personal files before upgrading to Windows 10. In addition, you’ll learn the steps to restore your device in case the upgrade had 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.

  4. Click the Create a system image option from the left pane.

  5. Select the On a hard disk option.

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

  7. Click the Next button.

  8. Click the Start backup button.

Once you complete the steps, the backup process will begin, and at the end, you’ll be prompted to create a recovery disk, but you can ignore the option as you can use a Windows 7 bootable USB media to access the recovery settings if 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 device 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, F3, F10, or F12), the ESC or Delete key. For more accurate instructions, visit your PC manufacturer’s support website.
  2. Click the Next button.

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

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

  5. Click the Next button.

  6. Click the System Image Recovery option.

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

  8. Click the Next button.

  9. Click the Next button again.

  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.

  5. Select the external drive to backup your files.

  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.)

  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.

  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.

  5. Select the Windows 7 file 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.

  10. Click the Next button.

  11. Select the In the following location option.

  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.