How to create a full backup on Windows 7

  • To create a full backup on Windows 7, open Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore, click the “Create a system image” option, choose the “On a hard drive” option, select the backup drive, click “Next” and “Start backup.”

Microsoft 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 configurations, 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 tutorial, 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.

Create full backup on Windows 7

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

  1. Open Control Panel on Windows 7.

  2. Click on System and Security.

  3. Click the Backup and Restore option.

    Windows 7 back and restore option

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

    Create system image backup option

  5. Select the On a hard disk option.

  6. Select the external hard drive to back up your device.

    Select backup destination

  7. Click the Next button.

  8. Click the Start backup button.

    Start backup on Windows 7

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

Restore full backup on Windows 7

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

  1. Start computer with Windows 7 USB media.

    Quick note: To start your computer with a bootable media, you may need to change the BIOS or UEFI configurations. 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

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

    System recovery options on Windows 7

  5. Click the Next button.

  6. Click the “System Image Recovery” option.

    Windows 7 system recovery option

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

    Select image recovery

  8. Click the Next button.

  9. Click the Next button again.

    Windows 7 format and partition drive

  10. Click the Finish button.

After you complete the steps, the device will revert to the previous installation, and you can start the upgrade process to Windows 10 again.

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

Create file backup on Windows 7

If you only want to back up your files, you can connect an external drive to your computer and 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

  5. Select the external drive to back up your files.

    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 picture, and these steps are meant to create a file backup that you can restore on Windows 10.)

    Windows 7 choose backup items

  8. Check the “Back up data for newly created 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

  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 to the external drive, which you can use to restore in the new installation of Windows 10.

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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

  5. Select the Windows 7 file backup.

    Windows 10 select backup

  6. Click the Next button.

  7. Click the “Browse for folders” button.

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

  9. Click the Add folder button.

    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

  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 you specified. The restore instructions should also work on Windows 11.

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