How to Backup Windows 11 to External Drives

This post shows students and new users steps to backup important important files to external drives when using Windows 11.

Backing up your files simply means making copy of your files and storing them somewhere for safekeeping. In the event you lose the original files on the computer or device, you can go back and restore the files from the backup location.

It’s always good to have a backup copies of your most important files. Keep copies of your files on another drive in case something happens to the originals — on an external hard disk, for example. A good location to store backup file is on a USB drive, external hard drive, CD/DVD or an online storage.

However, this post is focused on backing up to an external media only. Other posts we’ve written showed you how to backup to online storage like OneDrive and Dropbox.

The new Windows 11 comes with many new features with new user desktop, including centered Start menu and taskbar, rounded corners windows, themes and colors that will make any Windows look and feel modern.

If you’re exited about Windows 11, keep reading out posts on it.

To get started with backing up your files in Windows 11, follow the steps below.

How to back up your files in Windows 11

The easiest way to backup up your files is to let Windows 11 manage the backup process for you. A number of different backup applications are available, but Windows 11 comes with a built-in tool that can help you backup your files.

Alternatively, you can manually copy the file to a backup location instead of using an application. However, allowing Windows to automatically backup your important files might be the best option.

What files to backup in Windows 11

Your priority should be to backup important files as well as those that would be difficult to replace. Your personal files like documents, emails, financial documents, family photos and others that would be irreplaceable.

Other less important data would be your profile settings, installed software and system settings. These, you can replace, but might spent sometime on settings back to the way there were. So your priority should be backing up only your most important files.

How to backup in Windows 11

As mentioned above, Windows 11 comes with a built-in backup tool that you can use to automatically backup your important files. Use the steps below to set up your backup process.

Windows 11 has a centralized location for majority of its settings. From system configurations to creating new users and updating Windows, all can be done from its System Settings pane.

To get to System Settings, you can use the Windows key + i shortcut or click on Start ==> Settings as shown in the image below:

Alternatively, you can use the search box on the taskbar and search for Settings. Then select to open it.

Windows Settings pane should look similar to the image below. In Windows Settings, click System, select Storage on the right pane of your screen shown in the image below.

On the Storage settings pane, under Storage management, select Advanced storage settings to expand more storage options.

Next, select Backup options

Toggle the button to enable File History backup.

Then click Add a drive to select the external drive to backup to. You can select any of these media to backup to: external drivers, CD/DVD disc or network location.

Insert a USB drive to your computer and Windows should identify it and allow you to backup to it.

When you select a drive, all is set. Every hour, Windows will back up everything in your user folder (C:\Users\username). To change which files get backed up or how often backups happen, go to More options.

When you’re done, save and exit. Windows 11 will automatically backup your important folder stored in your home folder automatically. You can also manually choose additional folders to add to the backup if you want to.

That’s it!


This post showed you how to backup important files in Windows 11. If you find any error above, please use the comment form below to report.