How To Backup Files On Windows 11

Switched To Windows 11? Backup Your Files The Old Way

If you have switched to Windows 11, we highly recommend taking a regular backup of important files the old-fashioned way. Which is copying the files over to an external hard drive.

The Reason for This Advice

Windows 11 uses TPM (Trusted Platform Module) which is a hardware component that is either embedded or attached to the motherboard of your computer or laptop.

This gives added security on many levels, so is a good thing. However….

Worst Case Scenario

In a worst-case scenario, recovering data from a faulty computer just got tricky.

If the hard drive doesn’t match-up to the embedded TPM module, the data cannot be accessed or recovered.

Let’s say for example, you spill a coffee onto your laptop and the machine shorts out. Previously, we’d be able to recover the data by removing the hard drive, attaching it to another computer and transferring your data.

This is no longer possible in Windows 11. The TPM encryption code in the other computer will not match the code that the hard drive is married up to. This means data will not be accessible.

The only way to get the data from the drive, is on the original host machine. (The one that is burnt out)!

External Hard Drive vs Cloud Storage

Cloud Storage is handy, allowing you to access your files on multiple devices that you are signed into. However, once you stop paying the subscription to your cloud drive, you lose access to your own data.

Let’s use the popular Knowhow Cloud from Currys PC World as the example here. For around £40 per year, you can get 2TB of storage space.

Compare this to the cost of buying a 2TB external drive that you own. Priced at around £50.

Over 5 years this works out at £200 for the cloud service vs. £50 for the drive that you own.

Worth remembering that if you do ever decide to cancel the cloud storage service, the first thing you’ll probably do is purchase an external drive to save everything onto.

Instructions for Backing Up to An External Drive

How To Backup Files Manually To External Drive

  1. Connect the external drive

    Ignore auto-prompt to ask what you’d like to do with the newly connected drive.

  2. Use keyboard shortcut Windows Key & E

    Repeat, Windows Key & E to open a second window. Position the 2 windows side-by-side.

  3. Navigate to This PC / C Drive / Users “Your Name”

  4. On the other open window, navigate to the external drive, create a folder

    To create a folder, click the Home tab in the folder, New Folder.

  5. Drag and drop each directory in the C / Users drive across onto the external destination drive

    This will ensure that you are copying files rather than shortcuts had you accessed the folders via Quick Access.

The Key Thing To Remember About Backing Up Data

Whether you are a home user with photos and files that you would hate to lose, or a business / commercial user with critical data that would cause you real problems if you lost. This is the important thing always to remember.

Have At Least 2 Copies Of Your Data.

Have your data in more than one place. If a backup drive fails or if you lose access to cloud storage, the original host machine is your backup.

If one thing fails, ensure that you make a backup to another location.