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.
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.
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.
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.
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 account.microsoft.com/devices and click Clear stored settings to remove the settings from your account.
If you choose to clear your cloud settings, Microsoft will send you to OneDrive to delete any backups of those settings.
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.
Subscribe to 4sysops newsletter!
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.