How Do I Backup My Entire Computer to an External Hard Drive

To store all your computer data in an external drive is a good measure against calamities that can occur at any time. Find a way to simplify this task with the help of File History, an integrated utility provided for free in Windows 10.

Setting Up File History:

  • Connect Your External Hard Drive: Ensure it has plenty of space and is formatted with the NTFS file system.
  • Format External Hard Drive: Use Disk Management, but remember it erases all data.
  • Connect the external hard drive.
  • Click on the Start button to look for disk management ; that option is Create and format hard disk partitions.
  • Locate your external hard drive, right-click on it and select Format .
  • Choose 'NTFS ’ and then select okay .

Configuring File History:

  • Open Backup Settings: In the Start menu, type "backup settings " and click on the option.
  • Add External Drive: Click "+ Add a drive " under "Back up using File History " and select your external hard drive.
  • Adjust Settings: Modify backup frequency, duration, and folders by clicking "More options " under the backup location.
  • Initiate First Backup: Click "Back up now " after finalising the settings. The initial backup might take a while.

Restoring Files or Folders:

  • Open File History: On the Start menu, type 'restore files ’ and choose Restore your files with File History.
  • Navigate Through Timeline: Please take advantage of the timeline given to your right and locate the version you wish to restore.
  • Select and Restore: On the left side, you may view folders; choose those to recover and press on a green "Restore " key.
  • Restore Entire System: To completely restore the whole system, select System Image Backup . You can follow these instructions on your screen using the Control Panel.

With the help of these steps, you can quickly establish and use File History to restore and back up your computer effortlessly.

Advantages of Using File History:

  • Automatic Backups: File History runs in the background, ensuring your files are regularly backed up without manual intervention.
  • Customisable Settings: Tailor backup frequency, duration, and included folders according to your preferences.
  • Effortless Restoration: Effortlessly restore individual files, folders or your entire system in just a few mouse clicks.
  • Versioning Support: The good thing is that File History keeps different file versions to enable you to go back in time.
  • User-Friendly Interface: File History’s natural beauty is its simplicity; it’s very beautifully designed, and even people who are by no means technical wizards will have the opportunity to use this feature.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting Tips:

  • External Drive Not Recognised: Ensure the external hard drive is connected correctly and formatted with NTFS.
  • Slow Backup Process: Large initial backups may take time; subsequent backups are quicker. Ensure your external drive has sufficient free space.
  • Restoration Failures: Check for sufficient space on your computer and follow prompts to replace or keep both versions of files during restoration.


Windows 10 has an efficient and user-friendly tool to protect your data and File History. From accidental removal to hardware failures or system crashes, the availability of a trustworthy backup means that all your essential files remain unretrievable. Use this tool that comes with the software to improve your data protection measures without much effort.