Backing it up… with Microsoft’s Windows 8

We recently received an email from a reader asking what seemed a relatively simple question:  “How do you perform a complete system backup in Windows 8?”

The immediate answer that came to mind was, “click on the Windows key, and type ‘backup’ and it should be there!”  But as you may have found, when you do, you get a backup dialogue that is only for files and folders, not for the whole system.

It seems that Microsoft is really pushing the convergence between the mobile device (tablet and smart phone) and the PC.  Because of this, why would you need a system image?  You don’t typically backup an image of your phone or tablet –  You sync your photos to the cloud, your email is stored in the cloud or on a server and if you need to reset the device, just do it and all of the apps can be obtained from the app store.

Well, as you might agree, the PC is quite there yet, and Microsoft seems to be showing that they agree.  This, perhaps, is why they left the system imaging software in place, but made it less than obvious.

If you do bring up the backup dialogue, you can find in the lower left hand corner of the pop up window, a link that says “Windows 7 File Recovery”.  This will take you to another window that lets you create an entire system image. Then, if something goes wrong with your PC, you can restore it, apps and all, to a working state!  You can also set a regular backup schedule so that you’ll be sure to have recent copies of files that you have created.

The quick way to access the recovery tool:

  • Click on the Windows Key
  • Type the word Recovery
  • Click on the “Settings” link below the search box
  • Choose “Windows 7 File recovery” from the list of settings

For further reading on backing up your Windows 8 PC:  http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/12/using-windows-8s-hidden-backup-to-clone-and-recover-your-whole-pc/