backing up

My wife has been backing up her Win 10 desktop using the Win 7 backup. I think this is because, when she first got the Win 10 machine, the Win 10 backup said something that indicated she would not be able to use her existing Win 7 backups if she used Win 10. Lately, this Win 7 backup has started to fail and Dell is trying to get her to do a full restore of the operating system, which is, of course, scary, especially without a current backup. Having the process to create a bootable USB to reinstall Windows also failing is not encouraging.

So, what do people use for backing up Win 10 and why?

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So, what do people use for backing up Win 10 and why?

I’m on Win 11 but I used the same procedure on Win 10. I use Microsoft’s SyncToy to back up my data files. I don’t back up the O/S or the program files. I manually run SyncToy every Saturday morning to a thumb drive. I backup:

  • Golf handicaps
  • Amateur radio logs
  • Documents
  • Outlook contacts
  • Photos
  • Quicken files
  • TurboTax tax returns

I also have a batch file that runs SyncToy one night a week.


A backup program that I’ve used for years is called FreeFileSync.

Works fine. It’ll backup anything you want. You set up a list of files/folders you want backed up and then run that whenever you want.


You do not indicate how important the data files are. If they are important enough that you would have a hard time living without them, or cause financial losses, maybe this is the one time you might benefit by paying for a decent all-around back-up program, set it up once and never worry about it again. Just as important is where to send the backups, to an onsite drive or to a known-to-be-secure cloud service. (I use both.)

I use Macrium Reflect to backup 7 virtual drives–some monthly, some weekly, and financials daily. It’s very reasonably priced, they have excellent customer service, very flexible options, and employ easy to set up automatic schedules. There are other good programs worth considering too. It’s just that with something as important as digital banking, brokerage, insurance, legal documents, living wills, etc., plus contractual documents, I figure I can’t afford to lose them (fire, flood, theft, lightning - yep, been there, done that -, grid failure, etc.) and they must be guaranteed encrypted and secure. Free programs usually guarantee nothing but the fact that the vendor is not responsible for … well, anything. :slight_smile:

If the data is “hobby data” you might consider, as someone mentioned above, the convenience of simply cloning the new drive (which is also available within Macrium Reflect, as is the ability to make Windows-bootable drives for use after a system blows up.)

Just my 2¢ worth of advice for cheap insurance for your consideration, and Free for Fools.


A backup program that I’ve used for years is called FreeFileSync.

Thanks for the info. Been testing it for a month and replaced Karen’s Replicator that I’ve used for many years.


Good. I’m glad it worked for you.

A backup program that I’ve used for years is called FreeFileSync.

If you do something that damages the contents of a file on one device, file-syncing software will make sure it’s damaged on other devices too. That’s more or less the opposite of a backup.

(File-syncing software has some good uses… backup is not among them.)

I recommend something that keeps multiple generations of backups. That way if you mess up one file, even if a backup occurs before you detect the problem you can go to previous generations.

Back when I lived in Windows, Genie Timeline was good. That was a few years ago so it may have been surpassed by now.

In Linux, I like BackInTime.

Mac, sorry I don’t know that world.

What to look for beyond multi-generation:

  • Detailed configuration - so you can specify what folders, not just users, to include, and what to exclude

  • Multiple backup jobs - with different criteria for what to back up, different places they put the backups, and different schedules for when and how often they run.

  • Automated once set up - so you don’t routinely have to do ANYTHING to make the backups happen, other than maybe switch offsite-backup devices (I do that weekly).

  • Multiple directories pointing at a single file in the same partition - this is a HUGE space-saver and all disk formats in common use except the FAT family fully support it; it’s a huge space saver for multi-generation backups. Example from my own main backup job: 82 GB per generation, times 26 generations, equals 214 GB. (Don’t show that calculation to your third-grade arithmetic teacher.)

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To add to what warrl said try Windows File History…

Keep some backups disconnected in case you get a virus, malware etc… Just make a copy and unplug it from time to time.