How to Backup Files in Windows 7 to External Hard Drive for Free

Do you have many files on your Windows 7 computer and worry about losing them? Do not worry. This article will tell you how to backup files in Windows 7 to external hard drive in 4 free and simple ways.

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Updated on Feb 26, 2024

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Windows 7 is still the most frequently used operating system, following Windows 10 and 11. According to recently released data, about 80% of computer users experienced a black or blue screen of death; some may give up all files and reinstall a new system. All your important files, like documents, videos, and photos, are gone in this case. You may feel regretful not backing up your files.

If you are still a Windows 7 user and worry that you might encounter such a dilemma. Don't panic. This article from EaseUS will tell you how to backup files in Windows 7 to external hard drive with 4 simple and free methods. Let's get started!

          ⚒️Methods                          👍Pros                          👎Cons
1️⃣Using Auto Backup Software🔥
  • Free & easy to use
  • Compress backups to save space
  • Cloud backup available
  • Full, incremental, and differential backup
  • Fast backup and restore speed
  • Need to download and install
2️⃣Using Backup & Restore
  • No need to download and install
  • Free & easy to use
3️⃣Using Windows Easy Transfer
  • No need to download and install
  • Free to use
  • Not available in Windows 10 and 11
  • Unable to transfer large or boot files
  • Many procedures
4️⃣Manually Copying and Pasting
  • Suitable for all Windows users
  • Time-consuming and laborious
  • Possibility of data loss during copying

Download EaseUS Todo Backup to help you back up files to external hard drive on Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7

What Files Should I Backup to External Hard Drive in Windows 7

Microsoft has ended Windows 7 extended security updates and technical support. Since Windows 7 ends its life, your Windows 7 computer will be more vulnerable. Given this, Hackers will fully use the vulnerabilities to attack your Windows 7 computer, and finally, you will lose your data or pay for Hackers. The WannaCry Virus is the best example. Therefore, it is very important to back up your files on a PC running Windows 7.

The problem is, What files should I back up? If I have 100GB of data on your Windows 7 computer, do I need to back up all of data? Definitely not. You just need to back up the essential data on your Windows computer. Here is a list:

  • Personal files. The most important thing is to create a backup for your files. Generally speaking, you can find these files in C:\Users\Username on your Windows PC.
  • AppData. The AppData folder is under C:\Users\Username. It is usually used to store an app's user-specific settings.
  • Projects. If you are working on creative work, such as programming, video editing, photography, etc, back up these files, especially when it is in progress.
  • Emails. If you use a desktop email, you may need to back up your emails.

In a nutshell, back up data you care about, whether it is your important files like family pictures, videos, music, settings for an application, or saved games.

4 Free Ways to Backup Files to External Hard Drive on Windows 7

After knowing what files need to be backed up on your computer, let's see how to back up files to an external hard drive or a USB drive on your Windows 11/10/8/7 computer. The following will show you the details. Find out a solution that suits you best.

You must prepare an external drive with enough capacity to store the data.

Method 1. Using Auto Backup Software

If you want to back up files on a Windows computer, using professional Windows backup software is the best way out. This is because such a tool can let you enjoy many advanced backup features, such as Cloud backup, automatic backup, etc. To this end, EaseUS Todo Backup, a name that has to be mentioned in the backup field and one of the best free Windows 7 backup software, can meet your needs.

EaseUS Todo Backup Free is a simple, versatile backup and recovery program designed for Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7. It can help you automatically backup files, systems, disks, computer apps, etc., and backup Windows 7 to a USB drive. In addition, it can help you save your backups in various locations, including local or external drives, NAS, Security Zone, and Cloud.

Highlighted features of EaseUS Todo Backup:

EaseUS Todo Backup can help back up 1000+ types of computer files and folders. It can meet your different needs, no matter what you want to do on your Windows computer, such as backup, imaging, cloning, transferring, upgrading disk, etc. Ensure you download it on your computer to help back up your files.

Here is how to back up files on a Windows computer via EaseUS Todo Backup.

Step 1. To begin the backup process, click the Select backup contents button.

create file backup step1

Step 2. Four data backup categories are listed: File, Disk, OS, and Mail.

create file backup step2

Step 3. Lists of both local and network files are shown on the left-hand side of the screen. Expanding the directory so that you can choose the files to back up.

File backup

Step 4. Follow the guidance on the screen and choose the place where you want to store the back up.

File backup step4

Make sure that the backup is encrypted and set the backup schedule by clicking Options in Backup Options. You can also choose to start the backup at a certain time in Backup Scheme by clicking Options. There are many other customizable options that you can look into.

Backup options

Step 5. You can store the backup file either on your computer, in EaseUS's cloud service, or on a network-attached storage device (NAS).

file backup step4

Step 6. EaseUS Todo Backup enables customers store backup copies of their files on a third-party cloud drive or on the company's own cloud storage.

If you want to back up your data on a third-party cloud drive, select Local Drive and scroll down to add Cloud Device. Then fill in your account information.

Backup to cloud
Click EaseUS Cloud, then sign up and log in with your EaseUS account if you wish to store backup files to EaseUS' own cloud storage service.

backup to easeus cloud

Step 7. Click on Backup Now to start a backup.  When the backup process is done, it will display as a card on the left-hand side of the screen. A right-click will let you see more about how to handle the backup job in more depth.

File backup step7

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Method 2. Using Backup & Restore (Windows 7)

Another way to back up files on Windows 7 computers is to use Backup and Restore, a built-in Windows backup app first released in Windows 7. Unlike File History introduced in Windows 8.1, Backup and Restore allows you to back up your files, create a disk image, and create a system image on a USB drive. Here is how to go for it:

Step 1. To run Windows 7 Backup and Restore, click Start and type backup and restore into the search box, or go to Control Panel - System and Security - Backup and Restore. Then, click Set up backup.

click Set up backup

Step 2. Select where you want to save the backup. Choose the external drive connected to your Windows 7 PC as the backup disk.

choose the external hard drive

Step 3. Select Let me choose, and press Next.

select Let me choose

Step 4. Choose the folder or file you want to back up, and click Next.

choose the folder or file to back up

Step 5. Confirm the backup settings, and you can also click Change schedule to customize the scheduled backup according to your needs. Then, click Save settings and run backup.

start backup

Method 3. Using Windows Easy Transfer

Windows Easy Transfer is a built-in tool for Windows 7 and 8. It can help you back up data, like settings, user accounts, taskbar options, emails, documents, and pictures, and transfer it from one hard drive to another or computer to another. Here are the detailed steps:

Step 1. Click Start Menu, and type Windows Easy Transfer in the search box. Then, open Windows Easy Transfer.

Step 2. Click Next when the Windows Easy Transfer window opens.

click Next

Step 3. Pick An external disk or USB flash drive.

select An external disk or USB flash drive

Step 4. Choose This is my old computer.

select This is my old computer

Step 5. The tool will check all files supported in Windows 7, choose the files you want to back up, and click Next.

choose the files you want to back up

Step 6. Set a password for the backup image, and click Save.

set a password

Step 7. Select the external disk connected to your Windows 7 PC and click Save to back up files to it.

Step 8. Press Next, and you'll be prompted with a message where the file backup image is stored.

press Next

Step 9. When it is done, click Close to exit the tool, and you can go to your new Windows computer to transfer these files to it.

Method 4. Manually Copying and Pasting

The last method to back up files on a Windows 7 computer is to manually copy and paste files from your computer to an external hard drive. This is the simplest way to do so and requires no computer skills. The following are the detailed steps:

Step 1. Connect the external disk drives to your Windows 7 computer.

Step 2. Go to File Explorer and find the external drives.

Step 3. Right-click on the files or folders you want to back up and select Copy, or click it and press the Ctrl + C keys.

Step 4. Go to the external drive. Then, hold the Ctrl + V keys simultaneously, or right-click on it and select Paste.

copy and paste

Step 5. Repeat the process until you back up all files to the external drive.

To Wrap Things Up

That is all about how to backup files in Windows 7 to external hard drive. You can create a backup of your data on a Windows 7 computer to an external disk using professional Windows 7 backup software - EaseUS Todo Backup or the Windows 7 built-in tools and using the manual copy and paste method.

It is worth noting that if you want to create a scheduled backup while compressing backup sizes, EaseUS Todo Backup is your best choice. It can help you back up, clone, and image your hard drive on your Windows computer and create a WinPE bootable disk if you encounter boot issues. It has many features to meet your different needs. Download to explore it as soon as possible!

FAQs on How to Backup Files in Windows 7 to External Hard Drive

1. How to backup entire computer to external hard drive Windows 7?

To backup your entire Windows 7 computer to an external drive, the best and easiest way is to use professional backup tools like EaseUS Todo Backup. It can help back up almost everything on your computer while having fewer limitations.

2. How do I automatically backup a folder in Windows 7?

To automatically back up files or folders in your Windows 7 PCs, you can use Backup and Restore or auto backup software like EaseUS Todo Backup to set a scheduled backup on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

3. How do I transfer everything from my old Windows 7 computer to my new Windows 10 computer?

You can utilize the Windows backup and restore feature to help you create a backup of your Windows 7 computer and then restore it to your Windows 10 computer. Furthermore, you can clone your hard drive on your Windows 7 computer to a hard drive on your Windows 10 computer. This is because cloning can help you copy data from one hard drive to another without losing data or reinstalling Windows. EaseUS Todo Backup can let you back up your files or clone your hard drive without trouble.

EaseUS Todo Backup

EaseUS Todo Backup is a dependable and professional data backup solution capable of backing up files, folders, drives, APP data and creating a system image. It also makes it easy to clone HDD/SSD, transfer the system to different hardware, and create bootable WinPE bootable disks.

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