What is the best strategy to retain your computer data from a severe system crash, hardware failure, or virus attack? Creating a full backup of your computer data is the best way out.

Also, note that the most recommended way is to create a regular backup plan, automatically backup files to an external hard drive in Windows 10/8/7 computers. Here, we collected 3 backup tools to protect your files from various disasters effectively:

Backup and Restore vs. File History vs. Windows Backup Software

Which method to choose? Backup and Restore, File History or Windows Backup Software? Some of you may have the same question here, which backup tool should I choose?

Here, we listed a brief comparison table to help you decide which tool suits you the most:

Windows Backup Software Windows Backup and Restore File History
  • Back up files, folders, hard drive partition
  • Back up OS and applications
  • Back up files, folders, hard drive partition
  • Back up OS.
Back up files and folders under C:/ user folder.
Support Windows 10/8/7, Windows XP, and Vista Support Windows 10/7 Support Windows 8/10

Editor's Pick: For the easiest method, take Windows backup software as your first choice as it's easy and efficient in file backup. 

  Free Download

Support Windows 11/10/8/7

Let's see how to automatically back up files to an external hard drive with the 3 mentioned tools now. 

Method 1. Automatically Backup Files to External Hard Drive via Windows Backup and Restore

Pros: Free, and portable. Cons: Huge image size, nearly the same as the source files.

Windows Backup and Restore (Windows 7) program is a native tool that allows you to set up a backup plan to automatically back up files, hard drive partition, even including a system image, to an external hard drive based on a fixed time interval. 

Tutorial: How to Set Up Backup Plan to Auto Back Up Files to External Hard Drive

Prerequisite: Keep the external hard drive connected to your computer all the time. 

Step 1. Go to Settings > System and Security > Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Step 2. Click "Change settings", select the external hard drive ("Removable Disk") to save a backup, and click "Next".

Select external hard drive as backup destination

Step 3. Then click "Let me choose" and "Next" to specify files that you need to back up.  Click "Next".

Select files to automatically back up to external drive

Step 4. Click "Change schedule", set to run the backup task on a schedule by daily, weekly, or monthly, and click "OK".

Set up auto backup plan

Step 5. Click "Set settings and run backup". 

Wait patiently to let Windows Backup and Restore complete the process. 

Method 2. How to Automatically Backup Files to External Disk With Windows File History

Pros: Free, and fast. Cons: Huge image size, can't back up non-system drive files.

Like Windows Backup and Restore, Windows File History is another built-in tool that allows you to create an automatic backup plan of specific files on computers. However, this tool can only backup C drive files, including Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Music, Downloads, OneDrive, etc.

Tutorial: How to Automatically Back Up Files to an External Hard Drive via File History

Prerequisite: Always keep your external hard drive connected to the PC.

Step 1. Open Control Panel, select "File History".

Step 2. Click "Select drive" on the File History window.

Step 3. Select your external hard drive "Removable disk" and click "OK" to continue.

Select external hard drive to automaticlly backup files

Step 4. Click "Advanced Settings", you can set how often to save copies of your files by minutes, hours, or daily.

Set up back up plan

Step 6. Click "Run now".

File History will automatically back up all folders under C: /Users/account name to your external hard drive.

Method 3. Auto Backup Files to External Hard Drive Using Windows Backup Software

Pros: Fast, simple, small image size, and portable.  Cons: Not 100% free.

Compared to Backup and Restore and File History, Windows backup software like EaseUS Todo Backup is easier for beginners to back up everything on their computers to an external hard drive. Specific individual files, whole hard drive partition, or even the OS and applications, can all be backed up automatically. 

  Free Download

Support Windows 11/10/8/7

Here, EaseUS backup software offers the scheduled backup option to help you automatically backup files to an external hard drive:

#1. Automatically Backup Files to External HDD by Daily, Weekly, or Monthly

Prerequisite: Connect the external hard drive connected to the computer all the time.

Step 1. Click "Select backup contents" to initiate a backup.

create file backup step1

Step 2. There are four data backup categories, File, Disk, OS, and Mail, click File.

create file backup step2

Step 3. Local and network files will be displayed on the left side. You may extend the directory to choose which files to back up.

File backup

Step 4. Select the location where you want to store the backup by following the on-screen instructions.

File backup step4

Click "Options" to encrypt the backup with a password in "Backup Options," and to setup a backup schedule and choose to initiate a backup at a certain event in "Backup Scheme." There are a variety of other customization options available for the backup process.

Backup options

Step 5. You may save the backup to a local disk, EaseUS' online service, or a NAS.

file backup step4

Step 6. EaseUS Todo Backup enables customers to back up data to a third-party cloud drive and its own cloud drive.

If you want to back up data to a third-party cloud drive, choose Local Drive, scroll down to add Cloud Device, add your account, and then log in.

Backup to cloud
You can also save backups to EaseUS's cloud storage service. Sign up for an EaseUS Account and log in after clicking EaseUS Cloud.

backup to easeus cloud

Step 7. To begin backup, click "Backup Now" Once the backup process has been finished, it will be shown as a card on the panel's left side. To further manage a backup job, right-click it.

File backup step7

You can also use this feature to automatically backup to USB drive when plugged in.

It's Your Turn. Take Steps to Automatically Back Up Your Files Now

On this page, we showed you the best strategy for protecting your personal data in Windows 10/8/7. And we collected 3 tools to help you out: 1. Backup and Restore; 2. File History; 3. Windows Backup Software. Which one to pick?

Here is Editor's Suggestion:
To back up the most files on your computer, EaseUS Todo Backup with its schedule backup feature seems to be the easiest and most efficient solution.

  Free Download

Support Windows 11/10/8/7

No matter which tool you decide to use, take action to automatically back up your valuable files now.

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Updated by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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Written by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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