A reader has some questions about backing up a PC:

“Could you tell me the best way to back up my hard drive? Also, when you back it up can you recover it easily? Is the back up only for a complete crash, or can you go in and recover one file?”

I don’t think there’s any single best way to back up your PC, but I’m glad to go over your options. Backups can be used to recover the complete PC or just one file.

The simplest backups are just making copies of your libraries, such as photos, documents, music, and video.

Thes can be used to recover one file or all of your files.

A system image will allow you to do a complete system restore in case something drastic goes wrong with your system. It’s usually a good idea to do both.  Windows offers built-in options in both Windows 7 and Windows 10 for backing up.


A system image is a copy of the state of a computer system at a particular time.  If you were to get a virus or make an unwanted change to your system, you could restore it to the previous state using the system image.  A system image contains your OS, programs, and files and probably a lot of stuff you don’t need or want. It also takes a long time. You aren’t going to want to run one daily.  Backing up your libraries is a good choice for everyday use.  You can often back up just your libraries on a flash drive or memory card.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the process for backing up from Windows 10.