How to Manually Back Up Files in Windows 8.1

Though there already exists a feature that allows users to keep some previous versions of files in Windows 8.1 which is called “File History”. You can still be able to back up your other files just in case you want another place where you can keep them safe from being corrupted or lost after an error or a computer virus infects your machine. Contrary to what other people believe, Windows 8.1 actually has manual method of backing up files but instead  of storing them to another partition on your  computer’s hard drive, you can move them to other safer places like a network drive or even an external drive.

Once your important files are copied to the location that you wish to store it in for safe-keeping, you can get it even more secure by depositing it somewhere like an onsite or offsite location so you can always have them safe even against natural disasters like floods and many others that can destroy everything in your home or business including your computer, PC and other electronic devices containing some important files and stuff in it. In this tutorial, I will be teaching you how to store your files in a portable storage device like a CD, DVD, USB memory stick or even a portable hard drive in a manual manner but before that, I will first tackle about onsite and offsite storage techniques and point out some advantages and disadvantages between the two.

What is an Onsite and Offsite Backup/Storage Location

If you are new to the world of data management and security then it might be your first time to hear about onsite and offsite data storage which are both methods for keeping your files safe against any cause of loss. Businesses and companies always use both of these data backup techniques especially for the very important files and other crucial data. Though differences as well as advantages and disadvantages exists, both data storage techniques do the same thing which is securing any form of data against loss.

Onsite Data Backup/Storage

You’re surely familiar with storing files in a USB flashdrive, CD, DVD, magnetic tape or a portable hard drive and all of these are examples of Onsite Data Storage. If you have some very important stuff that needs to be stored somewhere else except from the storage space that is available in your machine’s hard drive, you surely opt to saving copies of them in a storage device that you can carry with you or something that can be kept safe somewhere inside your house of your business establishment.


Once changes in data the stored files are made, you will need to update them and save the newer versions in another storage device. The advantages of Onsite backup are as follows:

  • Easily accessible when files are needed
  • Cheap compared to Offsite Data Backup/Storage
  • Does not need Internet Access

However, there are also some disadvantages with this type of data backup/storage and the biggest one probably is that you will need to update the copies of your files every now and them which means that you will need to really give more time in doing it. This type of data storage is also vulnerable to being lost or damaged just in case something happens to your business establishment or your house especially those natural disasters which we really can’t avoid. This is the reason why you need to consider taking your files for an offsite backup/storage so just in case your onsite backup gets busted, you will still have some updated copies of your files saved online which can be accessed from any computer provided you have the credentials needed to access them.

Offsite Data Backup/Storage

On the other hand, offsite data backup allows you to store your important personal or business files in an online storage. This means that you can access them through the Internet or with the use of an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client. The data stored in an offsite backup are safer since they are not in a physical storage device. For instance, in an event that a natural disaster happens and damages the computers in your business, you can still access the files from another computer or device without any problem as long as you know the right credentials and logins.


An example of an offsite data backup are cloud storage like OneDrive, Dropbox and many others. If you want to know the advantages of such a backup storage technique then just go through the list below.

  • Allows access to data from any location as long as you are connected to the Internet
  • Data can be shared to other remote locations
  • Data are kept safe in an event that something happens to your home or business and all computers get damaged

The downside with offsite backup is that most companies that offer such services routinely takes down the servers for preventive maintenance. This means that the files which you saved in it will temporarily be inaccessible while maintenance is ongoing. Thankfully, some popular online cloud storage work better and syncs important files regularly but if you need a bigger storage then you need to go a bit higher and search for companies that really offer offsite backup services.

Backing Up Data Manually in Windows 8.1

If you are using Microsoft’s latest operating system dubbed as Windows 8.1, you can create a backup of your files in it using a manual process. This is a very good way of securing an onsite backup for your personal files that you can’t afford to lose. To do this, just attach the storage device that you want to save a backup in and once it gets detected by your computer, simply open it from the File Explorer Window. Now, you can open the location of the files that you want to save backup of in a separate File Explorer Window and you can start dragging files from one Window towards the other which you opened earlier to view your storage device contents.


You can also use the traditional Copy and Paste options in saving backup copies of your files into a storage device. In Windows 8.1, you can do this either by using the right-click menu. To perform this trick, just put the mouse pointer on the file that you want to copy then do a right-click gesture on it. After doing so, you should be able to see a menu where you will simply need to click on the “Copy” option.


Now, you will need to open the storage device and again just point the mouse to an empty space of the File Explorer Window. After doing so, simply do a right-click gesture and the right-click menu will again appear. From this menu, just click on the option that says “Paste” and the file that you copied earlier will be moved to your storage device.


You can also use the Copy and Paste options that is located under the Home tab of Windows Explorer’s ribbon-based options. To do this, just select the file to be copied and hit the “Copy” option located at the top-right portion of the File Explorer Window. After doing so, simply go to your storage device and hit the “Paste” option which is located just beside the “Copy” option at the top of the Window.


Now that you already learned some backup techniques and found out the steps in backing up files manually in your Windows 8.1 machine, it is time to start saving your important stuff in a separate storage device to make it safer against any reasons of being lost. Want to learn more Windows 8.1 tips and tricks? Just browse through our tutorial library and master Microsoft’s latest operating system with the steps that we show in each article that we published.