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How to Back Up Your Data before Upgrading to Windows 10

Windows 10 is Microsoft’s latest operating system and it’s supposedly going to be their last. Having skipped nine in the numbering, Microsoft has shifted their positioning slightly with this ‘ultimate’ version of Windows. It’s now more a service, ever-evolving and available across multiple platforms like PCs, tablets and phones.

Available for free from everyone on Windows 7 and above before July 2016, providing they have a legitimate license and a computer to support it, it’s not surprising that many people are making their way over to Windows 10. Which is exactly what Microsoft want, of course; the more people on the same operating system, the easier it is to provide support and for developers to create.

Before upgrading to Windows 10, though, you need to make sure that your data isn’t going anywhere. That’s where backing up comes in. You should be taking regular, automatic backups of your data anyway, but we’re going to take it a step further to make sure that you’ve covered absolutely everything.

You might be thinking that there’s no need to back up the data because it’ll transfer from your current OS to Windows 10. And that very well might be the case, if the procedure goes to plan. But as with everything, it’s never one hundred percent guaranteed to do what it should. As such, backing up is precautionary; if your data transfers that’s great, but if it doesn’t then you can restore it with ease.

First, you need to ensure that you’ve got a backup location which isn’t the drive you’ll be installing the OS to. An external hard drive is a great choice for this. You’ll now want to do the first type of backup, which is of your personal data. You could do this manually by copying everything from its folders over to the other drive, but that’s inefficient. Instead, use a program to automate it for you. It’ll not only satisfy this use, but you can continue to use it in the future for your regular backups. Something like CrashPlan will do the job nicely here.

You’ll also want to take a drive image. Whereas the previous method is your personal data, a drive image will literally transfer everything from one drive to another. This means you’ll get system data too. If something goes very wrong, you can use this drive image to bring the system back to exactly how it was previously. While Windows 10 does have a rollback feature for the first month of your use, it’s still better to rely on your own backup.

Creating the image can be done within Windows 7 and 8.1 from the Control Panel. Just do a system search for ‘back up your computer’ and you’ll find the right option. Alternatively, use a program like R-Drive Image. This program provides a byte-by-byte copy of your drive and can be created with various compression levels. It offers more features than the standard Windows option, which is great.

Once all your data is backed up, you’re good to go with the upgrade to Windows 10. Hopefully it’ll all go to plan, but if not then you can comfortable in the knowledge that all your data is secure in the backup.


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