How to Backup Your Android to a PC

By Andrew Tennyson

Backing up your Android device helps to guard against data loss in case the phone malfunctions or is stolen. You can back up data from your Android 5.0 device to your PC in several ways, including using the automatic Backup Account section of the Settings app on the device itself. For pictures and videos, use the Photos app on your Windows 8.1 computer. For all other files, use File Explorer or one of several cloud-based storage platforms.

Enable Automatic Backups

With automatic backups enabled, your Android device transfers contacts, emails and a selection of other content from your device to your Google account. You can then access this information from your PC, using your email client or various Google services, such as Gmail. To enable automatic backups, open the "Settings" app on your Android device. Tap “Backup and Reset” and place a check mark in the “Back Up My Data” check box. Tap “Backup Account” and choose the Google account you want to use to back up your data.

Back Up Photos

The native Photos app on your Windows 8.1 computer provides a simple solution for backing up photos from your Android device. Connect your Android device to your PC using the Android’s USB cable. If necessary, swipe down from the top of your Android’s screen and select “Camera” as your connection type. Click the “Photos” tile on your PC’s Start screen to open the Photos app. Right-click anywhere in the Photos app and select “Import” on the pop-up menu to launch the import dialog. Select your Android on the list of available devices and choose which photos you want to back up. To back up all available photos, click “Select All” and then “Import” to transfer the photos onto your PC.

Back Up Other Files Using a USB Cable

The native File Explorer app on your Windows 8.1 computer also enables you to back up files from your Android device. Connect the Android device to your PC using the Android's USB cable. Swipe your finger down from the top of your Android's screen to open the Notifications Panel. Select “Media Device (MTP)” or "USB 3.0" as your connection type. If a pop-up message appears on your PC, select "File Explorer" as the application you want to use or press “Ctrl-E” to launch File Explorer manually. Select your Android device on the list of removable devices displayed on the left of File Explorer. Drag and drop items from the Android device onto your computer like you would from a USB key or external hard drive.

Cloud Backups

Cloud storage apps are available for both your PC and your Android device. With these applications you can back up your Android's important files online and then download them onto your PC. Popular cloud storage platforms include [iCloud](http://www.icloud.com), [Dropbox](http://www.dropbox.com), [Google Drive](https://drive.google.com/drive) and [OneDrive](https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/). Download one of these from the Google Play Store onto your Android device and then download the associated desktop version on your PC to begin backing up files onto your PC via cloud storage.