Backup Files

How to Backup Files with Optional Automatic Backups in Vista
This will show you how to backup selected file types on your computer manually or with optional automatic backups.
How to Backup Files with Optional Automatic Backups in Vista

information   Information
This will show you how to backup selected file types on your computer manually or with optional automatic backups.

To make sure you do not lose the file types that you create, modify, and store on your computer, you should back them up regularly. You can manually back up your file types any time or set up automatic backups. The ability to set up automatic backups is not included in the Vista Home Basic edition, but you can still do manual backups. For more information, see: Windows Help and How-to: Back up and Restore: FAQs
Note   Note
Backups are saved in this format: (backup location)\(computer name)\Backup Set (year-month-day) (time)
  • If the backup was done on Local Disk D: at 9/7/2007 1:00:50 PM (It uses 24 hour time), then the full backup file path would be: D:\Computer\Backup Set 2007-09-07 130050
  • You would right click the folder Backup Set 2007-09-07 130050 and click Delete to delete that backup.
  • To see what your computer name is, see: How to Change the Computer Name in Vista
warning   Warning
This type of backup does not backup the Vista operating system files, EFS encrypted files, Programs, files in the Recycle Bin, Temporary Files (temporary internet files), and User profile settings.. You must create a Complete Computer Backup and Restore Image for this. See: How to Create a Complete Computer Backup and Restore Image in Vista

Here's How:
1. Open the Control Panel. (Classic View)​
2. Click on the Backup and Restore Center icon.​
3. Click the Back up Files button. (See screenshot below)​
4. Click on Continue in the UAC prompt.​

5. Select a location to save the backup to and click on Next. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: You cannot save the backup on the same partition that Vista is on. You can save the backup to a different partition, but it would be best to not save the backup on the same hard drive in case it fails.

6. Select the files you want to backup and click on Next. (See screenshot below)​

7. Setup how often, when, and at what time your computer will perform automatic incremental backups from now on.​
(See screenshot below)​
NOTE: You can turn off automatic backups later if you want, and just do them manually. See step 15 below. Automatic backups is not included in Vista Home Basic.
8. Click the Save settings and start backup button when done.​
NOTE: The left screenshot is if this is the first time. The right screenshot is if you are changing the settings from step 17 below. Check the box, boxed in red, if you want to also do a backup now to. If you changed the location in step 5, then this box will be grayed out and a backup will be required to run.​
How_Often.jpg How_Often2.jpg

9. You will now see this. (See screenshot below)​

10. If you selected a CD/DVD location to save the backup in step 5, then you will see this to. (See screenshots below)​
A) Just insert a blank DVD and click on OK.​

11. When the backup is completed, you will see this. (See screenshot below step 12)​
12. Click on Close.​

13. Now that you have done a backup, you will see Change Settings under the Back up Files button from step 3. (See screeshot below)​
NOTE: You can also click the Advanced restore link under Restore Files from the screenshot below step 4 and click on Back Up Files in the left pane.​
14. To Change Backup Settings
A) Click on Change Settings. (See screenshot below step 17)​
NOTE: Since you have created a backup, Change Setings will be added now in the screenshot below step 4.

15. To Turn Automatic Backups On or Off
NOTE: You will need to do step 14 first. Automatic backups is not included in the Vista Home Basic edition.
A) Click on the Turn Off or Turn On button at the bottom. (See screenshot below)​
B) Click on Continue in the UAC prompt.​

16. To Update a Backup
NOTE: You will need to do step 14 first. This will start updating the backup files immediately.​
A) Click on Back up now. (See screenshot below step 17)​
B) Click on Continue in the UAC prompt.​

17. To Change Settings for Backup
NOTE: You will need to do step 14 first.​
A) Click on Change backup settings. (See screenshot below)​
B) Click on Continue in the UAC prompt.​
C) Go to step 5.​

That's it,

Related Tutorials

Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink


Backup Files and Error 0X80070015

When I try to back up my files and folders with Vista Home Edition x64 (I've tried twice now), the backup gets partway through, and then I get this error message: 0X80070015 Device Not Ready

When I re-started the backup, it appeared to pick up where it left off, as if it were doing an incremental backup. However, I've yet to manage a complete system backup. Why am I getting this bogus error messge? Anybody know how to get arround it.

I checked out the Backup Tutorial. It was helpful only insofar as it let me know that I was indeed doing all the correct steps. So why am I getting this error message? From what I've been reading, it is apparently a common problem. Any suggestions on how to work around it? It's driving me nuts! :confused:
Hello Bestbett,

Welcome to Vista Forums. :party:

I have just a few questions to help find out what the problem may be first: ;)

1. What device are you using to backup on?
If it's something like a RW DVD, then it may just be worn out.

2. If it is a hard drive or another partition, you might run chkdsk /f on it to check and fix any corruption that may be on it.

3. Is there enough free space left on this device?

4. Have you tried to backup on another device or media to see if it is just the device you are using?

Thanks for getting back to me so fast, Shawn.

I'm backing up to completely new Verbatim brand CD-R's. I have not yet tried to backup to any other device or media.

I do have a Fantom drive on my home network that I use for most backups, but I was trying to make a separate backup that I could put in the firesafe. I guess I can try backing up to the Fantom drive to see if I get the same error message, and go from there. What do you think? Of course, that still won't give me a separate backup to put in the firesafe for -- ahem! pardon the pun! -- safe keeping.

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Not real sure on this one. :confused:

Have you had any problems using this brand and type of CD-R's with your drive for burning files to? Sometimes some brands or types will just not work on a drive.

You might also check to see if you have a security program that may be interfering with the backup.


No, I've never had problems with this brand/type of CD-R. However, you had a good idea. This is a new laptop that came with not only Vista but also with Norton Internet Security pre-installed. I am not a fan of Norton's. I took it off ever other computer because it too often interfered with things. Maybe that is the problem. Don't know why I didn't think of it before! I'm new to Vista and just figured it had to be a Vista problelm, I guess.

I'll turn of Norton's and try again. Keep your fingers crossed for me!



I thought I'd address this here. The problem I have with the categories for file backups is not being sure that everything that you want backed up is being backed up. I've had unpleasant backup surprises before and I try to make sure I don't miss something important.

For example, I work on website development. Are all files for the site backed up? Are they Documents, Pictures, Movies, Other Files?? Downloaded Programs? Etc...

I had automatic backups running and suddenly, the amount of space skyrocketed. I had to delete the backup set and never did figure out what was or wasn't backed up or what caused such a dramatic spike in size.

I love the idea of having shadow copies and automatic backups, but either the Vista backup is not specific enough for my comfort, or I'm just afraid of the unknown! I'd sure hate to give up on it, if I just need to adjust to a different workflow.

The more I learn about some of the vista features that are not readily apparent, the more I realize that this is really well thought out and sophisticated software. It takes some unlearning of old habits and expectations, though.

If you would like to be sure, you can manually copy and paste the files to a DVD or other media. This way you can look at the files and know what is backed up. That's the only thing I do not like about he Back Up Files options. You cannot see the actual files that are backed up since they are coded and compressed.

Another option is the Complete PC Backup. Unlike the Back Up Files, the entire hard drive or partition that Vista is on is cloned instead of just certain file types in it.

Hope this helps some,
Thanks Shawn,
I recently bought an external USB drive and decided to do a file backup to it and explore what was and was not backed up. There were a lot of empty folders that I had to wade through. :-( I found a lot of graphic and text files that were part of program documentation or interfaces that would be replaced when re-installing the program. And finally, I found a frustrating number of files that are frequently changed that were not backed up.

This is in Vista Business. It will work fine for my wife's system. But it's not fit for a business system. The category system is too "dumbed down" without any ability to fine tune. I'm sure there are 3rd party programs that make use of the shadow copy system and give more control over what to include and exclude.

It's frustrating that nowhere in any of the columns, whitepapers, and tech notes in the various consumer and tech areas on Microsoft is there a good explanation of what is and is not included in the categories.

I'm glad I didn't have to rely on any of the earlier backups!


Just wondering since I'm doing my first backup right now, will the 2nd, 3rd 4th etc time I backup take less and less time because its incremental and doesnt have to start from scratch? Also, so Instead of backing up all my media and storage the old fashioned way, which isnt automatic in increments, and takes alot more space, this backup method backs up all my storage in a what file? and does this mystery file save alot of space?

Hi Joronamo,

It depends on the number of changes that were made for how long it will take. I have always prefered the Complete PC Backup. This way if something I experimented on toasted my computer, I could pick up right back where (when) the last Complete PC Backup was made in about an hour.

The Backup Files is fine if you just want backups for these file types and do not mind reinstalling everything else again if someting should toast your computer.

Hope this helps,

Since I have a scheduled backup every Sunday on my external, I just leave it plugged into my computer via USB. Is it healthy for the Hardrive to be always on and plugged into the computer, even whilst I shutdown and reboot whilst its plugged in via USB?

Please reply,
Hi Joronamo,

It should be fine. While your not using it, it should spin down on it's own after a certain time of being idle, and spin back up when needed.

How about synctoy 2.0? This looks allow specific folders to backup! Is it support backup any files type?

Am I to understand that Complete PC backup is not in Home premium? I havent yet made a backup, and was hoping to do a complete PC backup. I have restore disks, but I want to be able to do a new backup every week or so.