Hello! Today, we will see a guide with everything you need to know about backups in Windows 11. This way you will be able to know these systems to protect your data and be able to recover them later. The idea is that if you have never delved into this topic, you will have a practical explanation of what backups are and how you can make them. Therefore, we will begin by briefly explaining what backups are and what they are for. Then we will tell you the types of backups you can make. Plus some things to keep in mind before making them. Stay reading to learn more about backup copies in Windows 11.
What are backups, and what are they for?
Your computer stores all the data you have on it on the hard disk. This includes your photos and even your videos. As well as for settings and any kind of adjustments. Certainly, everything should work correctly. However, there may be glitches and problems that cause something to go wrong. With the consequent partial loss of the data you have.
Problems can range from a single software or hardware failure. But they also include a virus infection that corrupts files or ransomware that blocks access to the computer. It can also be a bad update that causes something to break at the operating system level. Consequently, it causes a malfunction. Such a situation can be a catastrophe. Especially when files are lost due to these failures. One way to avoid this is to make copies of the most important files or computer settings. You can also make a complete copy of everything, from files to settings. This is what we call a backup.
On the other hand, the process of applying this backup and regenerating the state is known as restoring the backup. It can also be useful in case you have changed or reset your computer. There are many types of backups. There are some superficial ones. For example, saving photos from your computer to an external hard drive. There are also more complete ones. In fact, some are made by Windows itself on an external drive that you assign to it. In this case, they are all packed in specific files. Certainly, we are talking about a single file, and inside are all the other files that make up the copy.
What types of data should you include in the backup?
An important aspect is that these backups should not be indiscriminate. That is, they should focus on storing only essential files. Your computer stores a large amount of data. However, many programs and applications make their internal backups by storing this data in your user profile. As a result, they are automatically recovered. Therefore, saving this type of data is a waste of storage space.
However, what is considered important data will depend on the individual. Certainly, each of us has an opinion about the type of files or documents we consider significant or essential. In addition, you can also make copies of other files in the cloud. So you can save photos and other documents to services such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or Apple iCloud.
All the things you save in the cloud should not need to be saved also in the internal backups you make on Windows. In fact, you will always be able to recover them from the cloud as well. Unless you feel safer adding another backup within Windows.
Backups can be made inside your hard drive or on an external drive. Actually, it is recommended to do them on external storage units. This way, you make sure that they are not affected by any virus or malware that could infect your computer. This way you can also have them well located somewhere physical. So you will be able to use them whenever you need them.
Finally, you should know that there are two ways in which you can make backup copies on Windows. The first is by using the internal tool offered by Windows 11 itself to create copies. And the second is by using third-party applications. These are specifically created to allow you to make backups.
Types of backups
When making a backup, one of the decisions you must make is the type of backup it will be. Indeed, the way in which the data is stored will depend on it. There are four types of backups you can make. Moreover, using one or the other depends mainly on the amount of storage you have. It also depends on how much time you want to spend on it, or simply on the way you work. Here are these four types.
- Full backup: This is the most basic type of backup. It simply copies all data to a single external storage drive. Therefore, the time it takes to restore them afterwards is much less. On the downside, however, the process of making the full backup is slower. Besides that, it is also the one that requires more space in the unit where we are going to do it. These are the copies that Windows 10 makes by default.
- Incremental backup: This type of backup only copies the data that has changed since the last backup you performed. Therefore, leaving the rest intact. To do it the computer uses the dates and times of modification. Consequently, by only copying the data from the computer that you have modified, it is much faster to make than a full backup. Also, since some space is already taken up by previous copies, it requires less space than if you simply made a second full copy.
- Differential backup: This is a type of backup very similar to the incremental backup. However, instead of taking as a reference the last backup, whatever it is, it will take the last full backup. This means that it will only copy the data that has been modified since the last full backup. Also, even if you have recently made other differential backups, it will always copy the modified data from the full backup.
- Mirror backup: It is a type of backup similar to the full backup. But in this case, it only clones the files you copy without compressing them. This means that they take up more space and are more insecure because they cannot be password protected. But in exchange, you gain a little more speed in the restoration.
Some additional recommendations
The above are the main four types of backups you will encounter. However, there may be more. There may also be fewer, vary or change names. Actually, it all depends on the tool you are going to use to make the backups. A useful tip is to try to combine several types of backups. For example, instead of making full backups on a whim, you can supplement them with incremental or differential backups. This way, you will keep the files that have not changed. So you can save time when making backups.
There is also another type of backup you can do. We are talking about system images. This type of backups make exact copies of how your hard drive is. Additionally, they include the state of your operating system and the files on it. With them, you can then recover the exact state your computer was in when the copy was made. Even if you format everything and leave it without an operating system.
Choose what type of data to save in your copy
As we told you a little above, each of us has our own opinion about which data we consider important. Therefore, this influences which ones we want to keep in the backups. We are going to try to tell you some tips to help you prioritize the types of data. However, this is always going to depend on the individual and their situation. In addition to, aspects such as the storage available for backup can help you decide, especially in the case of limited storage.
If you have little space, then it is best to give priority to professional or personal documents. Especially if you don’t have them stored anywhere else. It may also be advisable to save project documents, jobs of various types or e-mails that you have downloaded via POP3. Remember that in this case, they may have been deleted from the server of your email account when you downloaded them.
The importance of multimedia files
In the case of photos, it all depends on our level of insecurity. You may store them on a separate drive or in the cloud. In such a case, it is not strictly necessary to store them in the backups. Indeed, you can retrieve them from those other sites. Your personal photos and videos may be among the items that take up the most space. That is, you can save them elsewhere unless you have a lot of space left on the drive where you will be backing them up.
And then there are the multimedia files you may have downloaded from the internet. We’re talking about everything from music and videos to more random ones. If they are files that you can re-download with relative ease, there is no need to spend space on backing them up. If not, then you can consider copying them to another external storage drive. But in any case, they should be last on your priority list.
But as we have told you several times, it all depends on your personal opinion. Particularly on what you consider essential files. What you should do is ask yourself what you would want to be saved if your computer was lost or crashed right now. Surely, in the answer to this question, you can find out what your priorities are. Consequently, this will help you to set up your backups.