The operating systems of modern home computers include a feature which lets you automatically backup your hard drive at different scheduled times. That is a great way to ensure that all your important files are saved and protected, such as your videos, music files, images, documents, and operating system files. Even though you can download third-party programs which offer this function, it is better to stick with the backup utility included with your operating system. Then you won’t be bombarded with advertisements or risk infecting your system with malware.

Let’s go over how to schedule a backup of your home computer.

1) Go to your system’s Control Panel and choose “System and Security.” You should see a link for “Backup and Restore.” Click on that link and a new window will pop up under that name. You’ll see a button or link which is labelled “Set Up Backup.” Click on that link and choose the location where you want the backup to be saved. It is best to select an external hard drive for the backup destination. Just keep an external hard drive plugged into your computer with a USB cable. Your scheduled backups will always save there if you do.  

2)After you’ve selected your drive and gone to the next window, you can choose whether you want the operating system to select which files to backup or if you want to select the files yourself. Since you want to make sure you have a full backup and not a partial backup, select the “Let Me Choose” button and then click Next.

3)You’ll see a list of items under a section called “Data Files.” You’ll want to select all those items under that header. You’ll also want to select the “Local Disk” drive under the header labelled “Computer.”The Local Disk is the hard drive that you’re backing up. This could be a hard disk drive or a solid-state flash drive. In some cases, you may choose to backup both drives. If you do this, make sure you have enough storage space on your external hard drive. Click Next.

4) The next window will show you a review of all the data items you want to back up. There is an option labelled “Change Schedule.” Click on that, and you’ll be brought to a “Set Up Backup” window. Check the box labelled “Run Backup on a Schedule.” Here you’ll get to choose how often you want the backups, which day of the week you want the backups, and what time on those days you want the backups.

For example, you can schedule a weekly backup every Saturday at 8:00PM. As long as your computer is powered on at that specific time each Saturday, your system will automatically backup the data files you specified. Therefore, try to choose a scheduled time when you’ll most likely be on the computer.

5)After you’ve chosen your scheduled backup time, click on “OK” and then click “Save Settings and Exit.” That is all there is to it! A backup will automatically be saved after you complete the schedule setup. From that point forward, the backups will continue at the scheduled increments, day, and time you specified.

6) If you ever want to check or manage your backups, simply go back to the “Backup and Restore” window from the System and Security setting of your Control Panel. Click on “Manage Space” and then click on the button labelled “View Backups” on the “Data File Backup” row.

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