You are here: Home backup How to How to Back Up your Windows 10 PC to a USB drive or external hard drive

How to Back Up your Windows 10 PC to a USB drive or external hard drive

Learn how to set up a "set it and forget it" automatic backup of your entire computer to a USB drive, external hard drive, network drive, home server etc. Works with Windows 10, 8 or 7. Run and done - full protection with one click.

How-to Summary: Learn how to do an automatic, always-on, fast backup to an USB drive or a network drive - without slowing down your computer. Restorable to any other computer in case of disaster - including programs, not just files. The software used in the article is available here.

In this article, we'll learn how to set up a full backup of your computer to an external backup drive or another location. The process results in a backup which is:

  • Complete - covers all files and programs on your computer
  • Automatic - you set it up once, and it does everything by itself. You don't have to "manage" it
  • Does not slow down your computer
  • Able to restore everything, including programs, to another computer
  • Does not require technical knowledge (yes, this how-to will be pretty short :)


You know you need to back up your stuff. The computer might break down at any moment, your hard drive may fail, you name it. In fact, you may be reading this article after a friends' (or their own) PC has experienced a disaster, prompting you to re-think your backup setup.

A popular, and inexpensive, way to backup your stuff is using an external hard drive.You can pick one of those up at any store, they are cheap, hold a huge amount of data - and it's the fastest way to do a backup (especially compared to Cloud backups, which rely on internet connection speeds).

If you have a USB drive like that, you can already copy your documents, pictures etc. to it, and it's better than nothing - but it's not a backup. A proper backup will be automatic - after all, you don't know when disaster will strike, and you want everything to be safe constantly, not just when you remember to copy things over to the drive. Plus, a good backup will protect your entire computer, so that if you have to replace your existing machine, you can get back to work as if nothing has ever changed.

There are dozens of backup products on the market. Each has its own advantages. Most of them, however, slow down your computer, require technical knowledge to set up and will only restore files - not your programs, settings, profiles, email accounts, passwords etc.

In this article, you'll see how to set up a backup that does not slow down your computer at all, requires no technical knowledge - and can restore everything, including programs and settings, to any other computer. It works for Windows 10, Windows 8 or Windows 7.

How to back up your computer to external USB drive

Here is how to set it up:

  1. Download Zinstall Backup (you can get it Zinstall Backup here.)
  2. Connect your USB drive
  3. Run Zinstall Backup on your computer
  4. That's it.

Yes, that's really it - run the software, connect the USB drive. Zinstall Backup will automatically look for the best place to keep your files safe. If you have a USB drive connected, it will use that automatically (although you can tell it to use any other location). As long as the drive is connected, it will create hourly, weekly and monthly backups of every single file and program on your computer. And if you need to disconnect the drive for a while, it's OK - Zinstall will patiently wait until you connect it again and continue backing everything up, automatically.

It's extremely fast and efficient, so it takes very little extra space, and you won't feel any slow down.

The best thing about it is the restore. When your computer breaks, and you get a new one, all you need to do is run Zinstall's Rescue Kit on the new computer. It will restore not just files, but even programs (!) from your backup.

This means that in a short while, you will have the new computer set up exactly like the old one, with your Office, your programs, emails, accounts, passwords, documents, pictures and everything else.

It doesn't even need to be the same Windows version. Even if your old computer was Windows 7, and your new computer is Windows 10, Zinstall Backup will be recovered to it, no questions asked.

Ready to protect your entire computer without slowing it down? Get Zinstall Backup here.

When disaster strikes: Here is how easy it is to restore your programs and files from Zinstall Backup to a new computer