Windows 8 Best way to backup files?


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Nov 22, 2015
What is the best way to backup files?

Also could you direct me to guides or explain how to do the backup?

I have been looking it up and from what I read there is a system image and file history that does back ups. But which is the best? If I needed to put my external hard drive into a different computer, could I view the backup files with a system image or file history?

Also I have two drives in this laptop that I want to backup.

The external hard drive I have has been used before for a backup of a different laptop. Is it okay to use an external hard drive that has already been used on a different laptop? I have an unused external hard drive I can use if it is not okay to use one external hard drive for two laptops.

What I am most concerned about is I want photos, videos, and documents saved in another location in case something were to happen to this laptop. So if I wanted to access the files I could do so from any laptop/computer. But I also would like to be able to restore everything on this laptop onto a new one if I needed to.

Thank you :)


Could I do a system image and a file history on the same external hard drive? Is that possible? That way I can restore the laptop exactly how it is and then keep backing up regularly using file history?
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For your system drive you should make a regular image of it on an external drive, preferably saving the most recent two or three copies. A good drive imaging system is Macrium Reflect and has a free edition for home use which you can download: Macrium Reflect Free This will enable you recover your entire system including updates and installed apps in about half an hour depending on size etc. All data such as documents, music photos etc should be copied by straight copying of files and folders, also to an external drive. You may use the same external drive for both.
Could I also just copy and paste files (pictures, videos, and documents) onto the external hard drive (in addition to the system image and file history) so that I can view all the files on other computers? Or is a system image and file history able to be viewed on other computers?
The third party backup systems like Macriu are far superior to Windows backup. Yes, you can copy whatever files and folders you wish to store on an external drive in addition to your system drive image. The files and folders you copy swill obviously be viewable on other pc's. The contents of the image file can also be viewed on any macchine which has Macrium Reflect installed on it by using the feature in the software to "mount" the image as a virtual drive.
How are third party back up systems better than windows? It seems weird and confusing that windows would not be good for doing backups. Do windows backups fail a lot or damage files or something bad like that?
It's not so much about Windows backup failing but being very limited. The third party systems have been developed over a long period of time, they are specialists in what they do, they offer a greater range of features. You will find that anyone who takes backup seriously will be using Macrium, Acronis or some similar package.
Oh, that's interesting. I'm actually having someone come over to help me with the backup later today because i am worried I will make a mistake doing my first backup by myself. He used to do computer repair and still does computer work as a side job at the company he works for. He always uses windows to do backups. Will all my files (photos, videos, documents) all still be just as safe with using windows as with a third party system?
The best way to deal with backups is to keep your system for Operating system and installed programs etc. You should use a second drive orr partition to store all your data. Backing up is than a simple process of imaging your system drive and doing a straight folder/file copy of all your data - all to an external drive. I don't believe you you will find many (if any) who rely on Windows backup. It is not a serious professional tool - and given that Macrium Reflect is free the question is a no brainer - used Macrium. You should also use the buitl in tool in Macrium to create a recocery boot dvd for if ever your hard drive fails or you have a serious virus infection, bad install or update which creates problems running a restore from your hard drive.
I could not use Macrium Reflect free to create an image (all parts required to run Windows) of a Windows 8.1 system. It hung "creating volume snapshot" for 2 hours. To stop it I literally had to use the Task Manager. Then I tried to create an image of just the C drive - same thing. I checked the C drive and discovered it's about 87 GB - with only about 6 added programs, no personal files, and recently run Ccleaner and Windows cleaner. Is it possible that Windows has downloaded all the Win10 files - would that explain the size? Ideas welcome.
Your Win 10 installation probably created a backup copy of your previous Windows. Look on your system drive to see if you have a copy of a folder called "windows.old."
It's Win8.1 - win10 is not installed. I wanted to backup 8.1 before upgrading. :)

Does Macrium Reflect free have any limitations for the size of the drive being imaged? It's odd there is no forum for "free".
I used reflect for all my PC drives (free version), my wife's PC, and my windows TAB. I have not had any problems I don't believe there is a any size restriction. My C drive is 247 used out of 480 GB.
If you have not yet tried maybe download again incase the one you have is corrupted.
There are no win10 folders. :) I did find why the size was so large, now fixed).
I just imaged my win10 tablet to it's storage card no problem. A Macrium image of the hp laptop with win8.1 doesn't doesn't even start up using an old external USB drive. Next try is format a 65gb usb stick to NTFS and try a Windows image.
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If you have not yet tried maybe download again incase the one you have is corrupted.
Thank you! I downloaded again and made a repair install. I also plugged the USB stick into a USB 2.0 port just in case MRF doesn't work with a 3.0 port. Macrium Reflect free 6.1 now works on Win8.1.
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