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The Best Free PC Backup Software for Windows 10/8/7 - MiniTool


Summary: Using a piece of professional PC backup software to create a system image backup or disk backup is a good option for data protection. MiniTool ShadowMaker is such a reliable tool here. Get it to start up a backup here.

Need PC Backup Software

Have you heard of such a piece of news: In August of 2016, the computer outage of Delta Airlines forced more than 1300 flights to cancel, which led to a cost of $100 million. If the computer corruption can happen to such a big company, why not happen to you? Commonly, the hard drive is easy to get crashed; ransomware can cause the contents of your PC inaccessible; natural disasters like flood, fire can render the PC inoperable. Therefore, you need one safeguard which comes from Windows backups, especially backing up your system drive and critical information. As for the home computer users, family photos, videos, music, documents, spreadsheets and more are paramount.


But how do you start the Windows backup? Usually, it is permissible to create a manual backup by simple copy & paste from a disk to a spare hard drive. But this way can't back up your system. Here turn to a piece of dedicated PC backup software to automate the backup process, and this is more meaningful.

The Best Free Backup Software – MiniTool ShadowMaker

While searching "the best backup software 2017" on Google or some forums, you can find plenty of backup utilities for Windows platform. However, for home computer users, it is not a small expenditure to pay for the program. Inversely, the software which is totally free and can satisfy all the users' demands will be well-liked.

Well then, the question comes: is there such a piece of Windows backup software to help you to back up your computer effectively? Which one works best? As you know, the backup software can not only create a Windows backup on a regular basis but also speed up the process dramatically. Obviously, MiniTool ShadowMaker is just released to automate and simplify your backup efforts, which is fully free. Get its Free Edition from the following button and have a try.

What can MiniTool ShadowMaker bring for you?

When reading here, perhaps you will ask us why use MiniTool ShadowMaker and what can this free backup software bring for you? In a nutshell, it is reliable and professional to back up your system, partition, and disk, fully compatible with Windows 10/8/7. Except for this foremost feature, the following functions play an important role:

1. Full backup, incremental backup and differential backup can be created.
2. Support automatic backup.
3. Burn an image to a USB flash drive or CD/DVD in event of system boot failure.
4. Support WinPE recovery.
5. Compress the backup files to an image.
6. Disk cloning can back up data, upgrade disk or do OS migration.
7. More…

How This PC Backup Software Works?

The above contents have shown you some information about this free Windows backup software – MiniTool ShadowMaker. Right now, it is a good time to back up your computer in order to avoid suffering from a severe computer outage or data loss. How does this tool work? The details are here, just follow the steps.

Case 1: PC Image Backup

Image backup means to create a copy of an operating system and all data including the system state, settings, programs and more. During the backup process, all files are compressed to an image. Just create one image backup.

Step 1: Please run MiniTool ShadowMaker Free Edition which has been downloaded and installed on your computer. Then, a while later, you will enter the following interface. Here are two backup sections like Local backup and Remote backup.

As to MiniTool ShadowMaker Free Edition, it only supports managing the local computers. So, click the first Connect to go to the next step. If you want to manage another computer by remote control, you can ask the Beta 3.0 for help.

local backup

Step 2: Then this free PC backup software will go to the Home page by itself. Here if no backup yet is created, MiniTool ShadowMaker will inform you to set up a backup by clicking the corresponding button.

Step 3: In Backup page, you see two choice boxes. Click Source section to decide which drives you want to back up. And hit Destination part to decide where the backup file is stored. Then, click Back up Now button to perform the backup operation.


tip Here are some details you should know:

backup Backup Source and Destination:

1. When entering the Backup tab, you can find the current system-related drives have been selected by MiniTool ShadowMaker. As a matter of fact, the best free backup software for Windows 10/8/7 creates a system image backup by default.
2. As to partition backup or disk backup, you can press Source part, choose one source disk from the combo box, and check the partitions you want to back up. Usually, we suggest you checking all partitions of the system disk to make a system disk backup.

select all partitions

3. Which location do you want to back up your system, partition or disk to? As for the storage device, it should be separate from your main hard drive. The device can be another internal hard drive, an external hard drive, a large enough USB flash drive or pen drive, a NAS and more. Commonly, we choose to back up your PC to an external hard drive.

recommend Tip: Local backup meets one requirement of 3-2-1 backup rule. Want to learn more information about this approach? Read The Best Practice: 3-2-1 Backup Strategy for Home Computers.


In the main window of Backup, you can see three other small features, such as Schedule, Scheme, and Options. And here, learn them one by one, as shown below.

backup Automatic Backup

Schedule feature is specially designed to help computer users to create an automatic backup by selecting the schedule setting like Daily, Weekly, Monthly or On Event (this feature is only included in MiniTool ShadowMaker Beta 3.0, not the Free Edition 1.0).


backup Scheme

Similar to Schedule, Scheme feature is also turned off by default. So, please switch Off to On. Then, choose one backup scheme. MiniTool ShadowMaker Free Edition 1.0 only supports Incremental backup scheme. If you need to change the scheme to Full or Differential, please turn to the Beta 3.0 for help.

By retaining the specified backup image file versions, you are able to perform the disk space management well.


backup Options

By clicking this button, you are allowed to make some advanced settings, for example, choose one backup image creation mode, specify the way of splitting a large file into small files, decide the backup compression level, add a comment to the backup, send an email when the backup succeeds or fails etc.


Step 4: MiniTool ShadowMaker will go to Manage page to begin the backup operation if you have finished all settings. Relatively speaking, the backup average speed is quite fast. After completing the backup with this PC backup software, you are allowed to perform one backup type like full backup, incremental backup or differential backup, as shown below.

drop down menu

Besides, click manage to perform other operations, such as Browse, Restore, Mount, Edit Scheme, Locate Image, Verify, Delete and Edit Schedule. Get the details about these features from the user manual.

tip Up to now, we have finished backing up your computer with the best computer backup software – MiniTool ShadowMaker. Free download its Free Edition in an instant.

On the other hand, perhaps you will ask us: how can you do a recovery from the created backup file? As for system restore, you should enter WinPE by creating a bootable disc with Media Builder feature. Here is one post to show you the detailed restoration: How Can You Make System Image Recovery in Windows 10?

Case 2: Disk Cloning

MiniTool ShadowMaker, not only provides you with the backup & restore solution but also allows you to do a disk backup by the cloning method. This way refers to transferring all contents of the source drive to another hard drive for backup. It is worth mentioning that MiniTool ShadowMaker Free Edition also have one feature - Clone Disk, enabling you to clone a hard drive with ease. If you don't have such PC backup software, just get its Free Edition.

How does this feature work for you? Details are here now.

Step 1: Please navigate to Tools page, many features are displayed. Thereinto, Clone Disk should be clicked.


Step 2: From the figure below, you see two sections. Just click the corresponding part to decide which hard drive you want to clone (system disk is recommended) and where the contents of the source drive are stored. Then, click OK to the next step.

clone hard drive

Step 3: Here, the cloning elapsed time, remaining time, as well as progress bar are shown. If you are not willing to wait for the cloning progress to 100%, the option Shut down the computer when the operation is completed is helpful.

perform clone

You choose MiniTool ShadowMaker to clone disk for backup. Thus, please remove the target drive from your computer. When system issues or disk issues happen to your computer, the hard drive where the system disk data is saved can be used to boot your PC to its previous state.

Another PC Cloning Software – MiniTool Partition Wizard

Actually, in addition to MiniTool ShadowMaker, MiniTool Partition Wizard is also a good assistant to do disk cloning. As a professional partition manager, it has received a great praise from computer users in the world due to the powerful features. Just get this free program from the following button and install it on your PC.

Then, while you enter the main interface of MiniTool Partition Wizard, you can see many features are displayed. In the above toolbar, Migrate OS to SSD/HD and Copy Disk are available to perform disk cloning operation. The former feature is only suitable for the system disk, and the latter feature is available for both system disk and data disk. Just choose one to customize your own backup.


Image Backup VS Cloning

The above part explains to you how to use the best computer backup software – MiniTool ShadowMaker and MiniTool Partition Wizard to back up your computer by two methods like image backup and disk cloning.

When reading here, perhaps you want to learn the difference between these two methods. As to image backup, you should know all the data on the selected partitions will be compressed into an image file during the process. In event of system accidents or disk issues, the image file can only be decrypted and restored by the software which created it. This way can save much disk space.

Disk cloning means to create an identical copy, namely, all data on the source drive is selfsame to the data on the target disk. If you choose to clone a system disk to a new disk, the target disk can be directly used to boot your computer.


After reading this post, you must know much information about why need to back up a computer, what is the best PC backup software, how to back up your computer by image backup & disk cloning with the best backup software for Windows 7/8/10 and some tips about two backup methods. MiniTool ShadowMaker and MiniTool Partition Wizard really help you a lot. Well then, get them right now for a free trial.

On the other side, we are appreciated for your suggestions or questions to our software if you have. Just leave it on the following comment area or write to our email support@minitool.com. Thanks in advance.