How to Backup the C Drive to an External Hard Drive

By Norm Dickinson

The information contained on a computer is often far more valuable than any of the hardware or software installed but users often neglect regular backups. Back up the C drive of a Windows 7 computer to an external hard drive using two different methods to allow fast recovery from a variety of problems that may occur. Learn how to create a full system image for quick restoration of the entire drive and how to create a scheduled backup to allow the most recent versions of individual files and folders to be restored if necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • External hard drive

Step 1

Attach an external hard drive to an available USB port on the back of the computer. Allow the operating system to recognize the drive and install any hardware device drivers or initialize the drive if necessary. Refer to the manufacturer's website or user manual for the particular drive being used for specific instructions.

Step 2

Click "Start" and "All Programs" and then click "Maintenance" and "Backup and Restore."

Step 3

Click "Set Up Backup" from the "Backup" section of the utility.

Step 4

Click on the destination drive and click "Next" to continue.

Step 5

Click "Next" to continue. Alternately click "Let Me Choose" to select files and folders for the backup and to choose whether to include a system image in the backup.

Step 6

Click "Change Schedule" from the highlighted link just below the summary information box. Choose the frequency, time and day for the backup to recur. Click "OK" to return to the backup summary screen.

Step 7

Click "Save Settings and Run Backup" to begin the backup procedure and schedule future backups.

Step 8

Click "Start" and "All Programs" and then click "Maintenance" and "Backup and Restore" if the backup utility is no longer running.

Step 9

Click "Create a System Repair Disc" from the menu on the left.

Step 10

Label a blank DVD disc as "System Repair" and insert it into the optical drive. Click "Create Disc" to continue.

Tips & Warnings

  • A system repair disc may be required to access the system image that is on the external hard drive. A full backup will allow the recovery of individual files and folders if necessary.
  • A system image can be restored as a complete unit only, overwriting all data and software that is more recent. All files and software will revert to the version copied into the system image.