Back up your PC to another computer on the network

Backup is a fundamental operation for all computer users, since at any moment a PC can break or may require a reset of data (formatting), so it is good to make a double copy of the important files.
Obviously the double copy should not be made on the same hard disk of the computer because, if this were to break or if a re-installation from scratch was required, everything would be lost.
The ideal is therefore to use a second internal hard disk or an external USB hard disk.
Another excellent solution instead, if you have at least two computers at home, is to backup one on the other via the home network: if one of the two breaks, the other can be restored quickly.
For files and data you can use the internal Windows backup program (see also How to backup files and restore in Windows 10), since it is possible to choose a network location.
If instead we want to make a backup of the entire operating system we will have to use a free program like Macrium Reflect 7 Free Edition becomes a very valid option to backup a PC to another computer on the network
READ ALSO -> 10 Best Programs to make automatic and incremental free backups
NOTE: This article previously talked about Crashplan, a unique program that allowed, for free, to backup to another computer via the Internet, therefore not necessarily within the same network.
Today CrashPlan has become a solution for companies only and can no longer be used.
Alternatively, you can think of a solution via OneDrive that synchronizes folders in the cloud and on other PCs, or a more classic program, such as Macrium, which supports network backups, as we are going to explain here.
1) Preliminary operations
In order for the backup to proceed quickly and not create problems during the transfer, we recommend connecting both PCs to the home modem via Ethernet cable, in order to obtain maximum stability and transfer speed.
If one of the two PCs is too far from the modem, we can connect it via WiFi only if we can take advantage of the 5 GHz wireless connectivity, faster and less prone to interference than the 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity (absolutely to be avoided for these purposes) .
Once the connectivity issue is removed, another warning that we can give you is not to use the two PCs during the backup creation: the generation of new files will slow down the writing and reading process, increasing the time for the transfer.
We recommend doing this when we are sure that the two PCs are not used or leaving them on at night.
If we are unable to find PCs on the network (you need to know at least the names of the PCs), we recommend reading the Guide Programs for scanning a network to find connected computers.
PCs must have shared folders on the network, to be used as containers: if we don't know how, we can read the guide Share files between PCs and see the shared folders (Windows, Linux and Mac).
2) Install Macrium Reflect 7 Free Edition
We download the necessary program on both PCs, so that each one can manage the backups of the other.
The Macrium Reflect 7 Free Edition program can be downloaded for free from here -> Macrium Reflect 7 Free Edition .

We click on the Home Use button to get the installer suitable for home use, then we proceed to install the program on both PCs that we will use for backups.
We will download a small downloader capable of obtaining the right version, just choose the Free edition at the right time to use the free version of the program.
3) System backup creation
Once the program is installed, open it on the PC where we want to backup and click on the item in the left side menu, that is Create an image of the partition (s) required to backup and restore Windows .

Immediately the program will identify the disk or partition where Windows is installed, automatically checking it at the top of the window.
To save the backup on the other PC we click at the bottom on the symbol (...) next to the Folder item and, in the window that will open, we click on Network to see the other visible Windows PCs.
After a few minutes the Windows PCs will appear on the network, we select the PC where to save the backup (it will also make us choose the shared folder to be used).
If the network name does not work, we can also use the IP address of the target computer, obtainable as seen in this guide -> Finding the IP address of another computer.
After that, click on OK and leave the name as recommended by the program (it will use the Image ID of the disk as the backup name).
Now click on Next to be able to schedule the backups, so we can choose whether to keep the older system images or if we want to free up space after tot days (we recommend adding with the Add Schedule button both a Full monthly backup and a weekly Incremental backup ).
Once all the planning adjustments have been made, we click Next to check the summary window, then we click Finish to start the system backup process.
We repeat the steps on the other PC, making sure to use the network paths of the computer used so far.
4) Restore system backups
We have made a backup with this program and we want to restore it ">
We repeatedly click Next to load the drivers and files necessary for the recovery environment (for the record we will create a disk with Windows PE) and to start Macrium Reflect 7 Free Edition outside the operating system.
After a few minutes we will have access to the window where you can choose the medium to use: we can choose between a DVD or a USB stick.

Once we have chosen the removable device to be used for recovery, we click Finish to finish creating this emergency disk.
At the end we insert the optical disk or the USB stick on the non-functioning PC, start it and let it start from the removable media inserted, as illustrated in the guide -> How to change the boot order of the computer.
Once started we will have a recovery environment with the Macrium Reflect 7 Free Edition program ready for use, we will only have to select the Restore menu -> Browse for an image or backup file to restore and, in the management that we will see open, select backups saved on the network on the other PC as seen in the previous chapter.
When restoring, we select the same disk (Image ID) or the same partition used when creating the backup to restore the backup to the same location.
After a few minutes (depending on the size of the backup) we will have Windows restored and ready to use as at the time of the backup.

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