How to Backup Single User Data on a Windows 8 Systems

A Facebook conversation today lead a contact to ask how to perform a Windows 8 backup. This lead to a few questions and answers and a promise to create this blob post. So, let’s just jump into it.

Before getting started, we need to recognize that Microsoft removed the NT Backup utility from Windows 8. So, we will be taking a different path to backup data.

First, add a USB connected disk of sufficient size to store your individual data.

Second, open up Control Panel -> System and Security -> File History.

Now, we need to select the device to save your data to under the ‘Select Drive’ link on the left. Choose the drive letter of the USB device from the first step.

The next step is to exclude individual data you may not want taking up space. Dependent upon the user’s needs, most people remove Music, Videos and Pictures from this list to decrease the size and time of the backup. Others, especially home users, will include these folders and libraries.

Under the Advanced Setting link, choose the frequency of your backup. For the single user or personal machine, a daily backup, at the end of the day will probably be best. Keeping a file history for a year can consume quite a large volume of space as various versions will be saved, each day. For home users, experiment with this setting to find what works best for you.

For businesses with a server and heavy document creation or changes, backing up to a shared folder on a server and hourly saving of file history is sensible, but it may still be desirable to shorten the lifetime of saved versions.


For Home users – the USB device will have to be connected at shutdown for this automated backup to work. To automate this, consider adding a NAS unit to your home network for everyone to backup to.

For Business users with simple networks – If your network does not have a server, a NAS unit could be very beneficial to the business.

For Business users with Servers and Domain Security — Many of the above settings are managed by the server to ensure maximum data protection.

One additional item about Windows 8 backups is the ‘System Image Backup’. This is particularly important to persons with many applications installed on a machine. The System Image Backup link at the bottom of the above page is used to take a snapshot of the entire machine. A USB device as large as the hard drive of the computer to be protected is suggested and this backup will probably require a long time to complete. The benefit of this type of back is if there is a catastrophic issue requiring a replacement hard and the system needs to be re-installed. Between this process and the above saved file histories, a machine can be brought back into a production mode quickly and without having to reinstall all of the applications. Special consideration: Applications installed after the system image is created will not be a part of that image and will need to be re-installed, after a restore. It is often recommended this type of backup be performed at least annually, though some users and system administrators prefer to do this at least quarterly.

If you would like assistance with setting up your backups and ensuring the safety of your data, please call Indy’s I.T. Department, TODAY, at 317-560-4443. We will work with you to identify the best solution to meet YOUR individual needs.

By | 2017-02-02T18:49:14+00:00 February 2nd, 2017|Backups, Business, Business Continuity, Documentation, Policies, Procedures|0 Comments

About the Author:

Leave A Comment