In May 2023, Microsoft announced a cloud-powered OS Backup and Restore for Windows 11. The initial version was released in Windows 11 version 23466 and is referred to as Windows Backup.
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Starting from Windows 7 and continuing through Windows 11, Microsoft has supported a widely recognized tool for backing up and restoring data, known as File History. It's a traditional backup solution that allows you to choose the specific data and destination for your backup.

In addition, you can use the Backup and Restore applet to create a system image and back up your files. In Windows 11, the tool is called Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

In this article, I will share some insights about Windows Backup and guide you on how it works.

What is Windows cloud backup?

The traditional tools we mentioned above, File History and Backup and Restore (Windows 7), could only back up data in a traditional way. What users were missing was the backup of files, apps, and preferences across multiple Windows devices signed into a Microsoft account.

As a result of that feedback, Microsoft developed Windows Backup, which makes backups directly to the cloud. Windows Backup is turned off by default. You can enable it by navigating to Settings > Accounts > Windows backup. To use it, you need to be logged in to Windows with a Microsoft account.

Windows Backup

Windows Backup

How Windows cloud backup works

Once you've turned Windows Backup on, you can choose what you want to back up. The following options are available: OneDrive, App list, and Preferences.

Configure what you want to back up

Configure what you want to back up

OneDrive folder syncing—The folders you select will be backed up, protected, and available anywhere in OneDrive across your devices. To set this up, click Set up syncing and choose the data you want to back up.

Back up folders on this PC

Back up folders on this PC

Remember my apps—With Windows Backup, the apps installed on your Windows machine can be remembered. When restoring, Windows Backup allows you to reinstall them directly from the Microsoft Store.

Remember my preferences helps you back up accessibility settings, passwords, language preferences, and other Windows settings. You can select or deselect what you want to include in your backup. This feature is accessible for a work or school account.

Remember my preferences

Remember my preferences

Stop backing up files

If you want to stop backing up your files, apps, and preferences to the cloud, you first need to disable Windows Backup on all the devices connected to your Microsoft account.

After that, you need to navigate to and click Clear stored settings to remove the settings from your account.

Clear cloud synced settings

Clear cloud synced settings

If you choose to clear your cloud settings, Microsoft will send you to OneDrive to delete any backups of those settings.

Wrap up

In Windows 11 version 23466, Microsoft introduced a new cloud-powered Windows Backup and Restore feature. It helps you back up and restore your data, apps, and preferences via the cloud across Windows devices with a signed-in Microsoft account.

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It is disabled by default, and you need to enable and configure what you want to back up. You can choose OneDrive and the corresponding folders, apps, and preferences. If you want to disable it, you will need to do so on your Windows and Microsoft accounts.


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