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Here Is the Best Free Backup Software for Windows 10/8/7/XP


Summary: suffer a lot from data loss? Or worry about this will happen to you in the future? Then, why not use the best free backup software to back up your system, disks and files in advance? In this way, once accidents happen, restore them all back immediately.

Backup of OS & File - Why Is It Important?

Having a copy of your data in another safe location is always wise to prevent data loss, for you never know when an accident can happen.

There are a number of reasons that may lead to data loss:

  • System crash: system crash is the most common reason that causes data loss, for you cannot access your computer unless you use some professional data recovery tools to help you.
  • Virus infection: virus attack may affect anywhere of the hard drive, leading to more or less data deletion or data damage.
  • Hard drive failure: hard drive is always endowed with a limited life span, and can fail anytime after a long period of usage. Thus if the hard drive fails, data loss happens.
  • Computer damage: today computers are designed to be lighter and thinner, thus they are more likely to encounter physical damage. For example, a strong impact or drop may cause your computer unable to boot and repair.
  • Computer theft: as more and more people go for a travel with their computers, computer theft happens often. In this case, you have no way to get data back unless you have a copy of backup that is available.

So the bottom line here is: back up operating system or files are very significant for data protection. But do you have any idea that which is the best free backup software that you can use to do essential backup tasks? Next, we will introduce very popular backup software to you, please read on.

The Best Free Backup Software for Windows 10

What is the best free backup software for Windows 10?
I tried the backup software that comes with Windows but after I clicked on "Backup Now" or something like that it appeared to be working for a few seconds and then stopped and the backup button appeared again. This is on a machine that was upgraded from Windows 7.

--from Whirlpool

When it comes to free Windows backup software, we suggest downloading MiniTool ShadowMaker as your first choice, for it is not only capable of system backup, but also powerful in disk imaging. With its concise interface and straightaway wizard, you can easily complete each backup task through its key features.

As one of the best free backup software, MiniTool ShadowMaker is compatible with the most popular Windows OS, including Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP and Windows Vista (all editions).

Tip: It is recommended to back up data to another hard drive or external hard drive. Thus, the backup data won't be affected even when the source disk goes wrong.

Part 1 - Back up Windows 10/8/7

Today Windows 10 backup has aroused hot debates. Many users are eager to find a way to protect Windows 10 for fear that it may get corrupted, leading to serious data loss and annoying program reinstallations. MiniTool ShadowMaker offers system backup feature to help you back up Windows 10 to another hard drive.

Let's see how it works on this issue:

Before you do:
  • Make sure the target disk is large enough to hold system data on the source disk.
  • Make sure you have backed up or transferred all important data on the target disk to a safe location, for a location of the target disk will be cleaned.

Step 1. Run MiniTool ShadowMaker. Then on the main interface, select Backup feature from the menu bar. You can see that the system required partition is selected by default. Here you just need to choose the target drive or folder to store Windows system image.



Tip: To customize the backup task, click Options to add a comment, configure email notification, compress file size, encrypt the backup, etc. Also, you can click Schedule to make a daily/weekly/monthly backup plan.

backup option

schecule backup

Step 2. Now click Back up Now or Back up Later to continue. MiniTool ShadowMaker will jump to Manage where you can see the backup process if you choose Back up Now, or you can manage the backup task later if you choose Back up Later.

back up now


This is the end of how to back up system. Next, we will show you how to back up disk and partitions.

Part 2 - Back up Entire Disk

Hard drive backup is essential for mass of data protection and hard drive upgrade (hard drive replacement). This requires that you have a piece of backup software and another hard drive which can be HDD, SSD, or external hard drive at hand. Now with MiniTool ShadowMaker, you can finish disk backup easily.

Step 1. Launch MiniTool ShadowMaker, and then navigate to Backup.

Step 2. At Source, select the disk you want to back up and remember to check the whole partitions. At Destination, select a location that is large enough to save the disk image file. Then same to Windows system backup, click Options and Schedule to customize your backup. Finally, click Back up Now or Back up Later. Then you will be lead to Manage.

Step 3. At Manage, if you choose Back up Now, you will see the progress bar going. Just wait until MiniTool ShadowMaker finishes; if you select Back up Later, you can manage the backup task by hitting the Options menu.

Part 3 - Back up Partition

Sometimes it is rather necessary to back up only one or two partitions. For example, you may attach great importance to a partition storing travel photos or years of collections. Thus, backup of this partition is indispensable. Then how would you do this task? We believe many users are accustomed to image partitions to another location, which is indeed helpful.

Step by step tutorial is shown here:

Step 1. Launch MiniTool ShadowMaker, and then navigate to Backup.

Step 2. At Source, select the partition you need to back up. At Destination, select a location to save the backup image. If you want to personalize the backup, click Options to make it; and if you need a scheduled backup, enter Schedule to set up. Now you can click Back up Now or Back up Later to go on.

Step 3. If you select Back up Now, you can see the backup progress immediately under Manage. If you select Back up Later, you can deal with the backup task whenever you want.

Knowing how to back up system, disk, and partition using MiniTool ShadowMaker, let see how to restore image when there is a need.

Note: If you are restoring a system image, you need to create a bootable media in advance, and then enter the WinPE based recovery environment to do the restoration. For your reference:

Step 1. Navigate to restore where all available backup tasks are listed there, waiting for restoration. Now select the one you need and then hit Restore button. Please be careful when selecting, for the drive letters may change in WinPE.


Step 2. Immediately you will be asked to choose a backup version. Then click Next to go on.

backup version

Step 3. Choose all volumes from the backup file to restore. Note that the MBR and Track 0 should be checked altogether. Click Next to go on.

select volume

Step 4. Select target disk to save the restoration. Be aware that you cannot select the disk containing backup files. Besides, MiniTool ShadowMaker will restore the image to the same physical location, hence some partitions will be deleted. Please make sure that you are selecting the right disk. Finally, click Start to begin.

select disk

Please wait until MiniTool ShadowMaker finishes its job.


Top Recommended: MiniTool Partition Wizard

MiniTool Partition Wizard is professional disk management software which offers some features to do a backup. These features are Migrate OS, Copy Disk, and Copy Partition. To know more about the three features, you can read Migrate OS to SSD/HD VS. Copy Disk in Partition Wizard.

Let's see how MiniTool Partition Wizard works on hard drive backup. Take Copy Disk for example:

Before you do:
  • Make sure the target disk you prepared is basic disk and can be recognized by Windows.
  • Make sure the target disk is large enough to hold all data on the source disk.
  • Back up or transfer all important data in the target disk to a safe location for the drive will be cleaned during the copying process.

Step 1. Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard, on the main interface; choose Copy Disk Wizard from action panel.

copy disk

Step 2. Then you will be lead to the welcome page. Click Next to continue.

Step 3. Here choose which disk you want to back up. Click that disk and press Next to go on.

select source disk

Step 4. Now choose the target disk which is the one you prepared just now, after that click Next to move on. You will be given the data destroying message, confirm you want to continue if you have already made good preparation.

select target disk

Step 5. Here comes to an important part: choose Copy Options. You can choose one of these three options listed below according to your own situation.

  • Fit partitions to entire disk: MiniTool Partition Wizard will automatically adjust each partition size on the target disk according to their original partition size proportion.
  • Copy partitions without resize: MiniTool Partition Wizard will keep the original partition size on the target disk, which is only available when the target disk is not smaller than the source disk.
  • Align partitions to 1 MB: This feature will improve the performance of the target disk if it is an SSD or advanced format disk.
  • Use GUID Partition Table for the target disk: This feature will turn the target disk to GPT and is helpful when the target disk is larger than 2TB. Note that this feature is unavailable in the free edition.

select copy option

Step 6. You will see the prompt about how to boot from the destination disk. Keep it in mind and hit Finish.

Step 7. Here you can preview what is going to happen on the target disk. See! All partitions along with their respective data will be backed up. If you are satisfied with this change, you can hit Apply now.

apply change

recommend You may also like: How to Cone Hard Drive on Windows 7.

Why Not Windows Backup and Restore?

Reading here, you must be wondering: how about using Windows Backup and Restore? Well, when it comes to free Windows backup software, Windows Backup and Restore utility - a built-in tool that most Windows users trust - can never be ignored. Then is Windows Backup and Restore the best free backup software? Obviously NOT.

To be specific, this backup software is accessible for everyone running Windows OS, but also reveals many shortcomings. For example, usually, it takes longer time than its competitors. And, it can report many issues like error 0X8078002A, sudden backup stop as the example indicates, and so on. Most important of all, once your system gets damaged, you cannot access these images unless you have a Windows recovery drive. Thus, it is suggested to use a piece of professional backup software like MiniTool ShadowMaker to help you.


Data loss can happen to anyone of us without any indication. Thus, back up your system, disks, and files in advance frequently. In this post, we list MiniTool ShadowMaker as the easiest and best free backup software for Windows users, even for those who are not IT experts. As long as you use it for once, you will know how convenient it is. If you have any questions towards using MiniTool software, please leave comments below or send an email to support@minitool.com.