It doesn’t matter whether you are a home user or a pro user, you should have no excuses to backup the data on your computer. In fact, it is one of the essential things that you should do if you own a system. This is because there is no telling when the disaster strikes and you lose all your important data like documents, photos, videos, important files, etc.
When there is a data loss, it can be hard or even impossible to recover the lost data. So to avoid those kinds of situations, you should always backup your Windows system. To help you with that, here are some of the best free backup software for Windows.
Different Types of Backups Explained
There are 3 major types of backups — Full backup, Incremental backup, and Differential backup
Full Backup: As the name suggest, it’s the complete backup of all the files you select at the time of backup. Usually, we do full backup only once and next time we want to do the backup of that system we choose between Incremental or Differential backups.
Incremental backup: It has two backup catalog – the complete backup plus the only the changes that have been made since the last backup.
Differential backup: This one is quite similar to Incremental backup, but the only difference is – it contains the complete backup plus all the changes that have been made since the last backup.
Note: To completely restore your system, you’ll need either your full backup OR full backup plus the latest incremental or differential backup. But don’t worry, most software that does incremental/differential backup will also do complete backup the first time you run the software. Following is the table that explains the difference between these 3 types of backup.
|Backup Type||What is Backed Up||Backup Time||Backup Storage|
|Full Backup||All Files||Slow||High|
|Incremental Backup||Only new and modified files since the last backup||Fast||Low|
|Differential Backup||All new and modified files since the last backup||Moderate||Moderate|
Best Free Backup Software for Windows
1. Windows Built-in Image Backup Tool
Like always, Windows has many built-in tools to help you in a lot of situations. One of those tools is the Windows Image Backup utility. Using this free tool, you can quickly create a full image backup of your system drive and other partitions. And since you are creating a full image backup, you can quickly restore your system to the way it was with just a few clicks.
In fact, I personally use Windows Image Backup Tool to create full system image backup as soon as I install a new operating system and set all the settings and software as I want. This action helps me to quickly restore in case of any system corruption. So, if you don’t want to use yet another third-party software then do try the built-in Windows Image Backup utility.
Though you can also use this tool to backup files and folders, it is mainly used to backup system files. Also, it’s advisable to backup your system files on the external flash drive or cd and not on a partition of your computer’s hard drive.
How to Use: Simply search for “Backup and Restore” in the start menu and open it. Once you are here, click on the link “Backup Now” and follow the on-screen instructions.
Pros: This tool can create full system image backup and you can even schedule automatic backups for increased reliability.
Cons: Windows Image Backup tool is pretty basic. Moreover, the full system image backup can take up a lot of space on your hard drive.
AOMEI Backupper is easy to use Windows backup software. It has a simple user interface with all the options you will ever need. Using AOMEI Backupper, you can create full system backups, create a partition or entire hard disk backup, incremental and differential backups, etc. Moreover, AOMEI Backupper also supports event-triggered backups and automatic scheduled backups. Other features of this software include but not limited to check, compress, encrypt, and explore the backups, fast backup restore, ability to create WinPE and Linux bootable media, etc.
How to Use: Just download AOMEI Backupper Standard from the official site, install and launch it. Once launched, select the backup type and follow the on-screen instructions.
Pro: There are almost all the features you will ever need right in the free version. It is also very easy to use.
Cons: The free version doesn’t allow you to merge backups or even clone/migrate your system.
Macrium Reflect is one of the most popular backup, cloning and imaging software that makes it very easy to backup your system, files, and folders. The good thing about this software is that the free version supports differential backups and also supports Windows PE rescue environment. Some of the features of Macrium Reflect Free include but not limited to drag and drop user interface, fast imaging, resize/reorder partitions, direct disk cloning, scheduled backups, PE boot menu, support for SSD trim, backup file management, etc.
So, if you are a home or general user then do give Macrium Reflect Free a try.
How to Use: Download the online installer from the official site and execute it. Now, download the full application and launch it. Once launched, select the partition you want to backup, select the option “Backup this partition only” and follow the on-screen instructions.
Pros: Drag and drop user interface with a modern look and is also very easy to use. Offers backup verification and WinPE rescue environment.
Cons: Unlike in AOMEI Backupper Standard, there is no incremental backup option in the free version.
EaseUS Todo Backup is yet another popular backup software for Windows that can backup files, folders, partitions, and even an entire system. Apart from creating backups, you can also use this software to clone your hard disks, create emergency disks, browse the existing backups, etc.
This software is suitable for users who just want to quickly backup the files or system without any advanced options or other bells and whistles, like in AOMEI or Macrium Reflect.
How to Use: Using EaseUS Todo Backup is very easy, just install the software from the official site and open it. Once opened, select the backup option from the upper navigation and follow the on-screen instructions.
Pros: The user interface is pretty minimal and very easy to use, even for the beginners.
Cons: The free version of the software is pretty limited and there is no support for incremental or differential backups.
Unlike other software shared in this list, Redo Backup and Recovery is a bit different and is mainly used as a disaster recovery solution. The main things that differentiate this software from other are that there is no installer involved and you cannot use it to back individual files and folders, instead, it will backup your whole system. The good thing about Redo Backup is that it works flawlessly with both the Windows and Linux. Moreover, you can backup your data to external USB drive, internal hard drive, FTP server, or even to a shared network folder.
How to Use: Since there is no installer, you need to download the live CD image and burn it to a CD/DVD or USB thumb drive. Now, boot into the liveCD and then select the option “Backup” from the home screen.
Pros: Redo Backup and Recovery is totally free and can restore your entire system when you face a complete disastrous situation.
Cons: Cannot backup individual files and folders. There is no way to schedule backups and implement the incremental and differential backups.
How to Restore Backup?
Say your computer got infected with a malware or you accidentally deleted some important files, then here is how you can restore your system backup.
Restart your computer and boot into BIOS. Insert your external drive, where you stored the backup and boot into that external drive. You’ll see the Windows installation page, but instead of clicking on Install, click on Repair this computer. Next click on Troubleshoot > Advance option > System Image recovery and it’ll auto detect the system recovery.
Hope that helps and do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about using the above software to backup your system. Also, if you think I missed your favorite free Windows backup software then let me know in the comments section.