Back up your computer with Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows FREE

You have been working on a presentation for a few months, and now it’s all lost. Or those reports your boss asked for are gone. Or all the pictures you took on your vacation at the seaside are all gone. Zero, zilch, zip, nada, nothing.

Sounds bad, doesn’t it?

All of these can happen to any of us due to ransomware attacks, hard disk drive failures, accidental deletion or other types of breakdown. These situations are unpredictable, and the best thing you can do is to prepare by backing up your data. Whether it’s your personal files or work-related documents, YOU SHOULD DO BACKUPS.

There are many tools on the market for backing up your computer, but today I’m going to talk about Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows FREE edition — a simple yet very efficient tool that I use on both my work and personal computers.

Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows FREE is the successor of Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE and allows you to back up Windows-based physical machines such as desktops and laptops and, in case of system failure, to restore your files or your whole computer rapidly.

System requirements

Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows has been certified by Microsoft as Windows 10 compatible. However, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, 2012 R2 and 2016 are also supported, so you’ll be good if your PC runs one of these versions.

Installation

To download Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows FREE, just go to the Veeam website, look under the Products > Free Tools menu and select it. You are allowed to use this FREE edition for as many Windows-based devices as you want.

Once you download the archived file, unzip it and run the executable.

Pretend you have read the terms and conditions, accept them and click Install.

The installation process takes just one minute or two to complete. As you can see in the image above, you have several backup options: to an external hard drive (e.g., USB flash drive, external HDD, etc.), network folder (NAS) or, if you’re already using other Veeam Availability solutions, a Veeam backup repository.

After the installation completes, you have the option to run the Veeam Recovery Media creation wizard or to do it later. In my example, I’m using a USB flash drive, so I checked the box to deploy it right away. If you choose to back up your PC data to a Veeam repository or to a network folder, just uncheck the box and configure afterwards.

Please be aware that when you use a USB flash drive for your recovery media, Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows formats it with FAT32, which will limit the flash drive to 32 GB and to files equal or less to 4 GB. However, this enables the USB flash drive to boot BIOS-based and UEFI-based PCs.

In the Create Recovery Media window, you must select the media types. Here, I selected my USB drive and just pressed Next. You can also choose to back up your files into an ISO image file and keep it on the local drive or move it to external storage. I recommend that you include storage and network drivers from your computer because it will help when you use the Veeam Recovery Media to boot your PC.

My USB flash drive is now bootable and ready to store my PC backups.

Configure backup

Now that you have set up your recovery media, it’s time to configure backup jobs. This option is on the Status tab on the top right corner. Here you have three options to select for your backups: the entire computer, volume-level backup and file-level backup.

This really depends on what you want to achieve and on your backup strategy — in my example, I’m using the File-level backup option to back up a pretty dynamic folder where I keep work-related files and that I update daily. In this folder, I saved some of Gostev’s digests (register for the Veeam Community Forums to subscribe) because they contained very useful information about Veeam Backup & Replication v10 and I will use one of these email files in my guide later on.

After you have selected the folders and files you want to back up, you will choose the destination of your backup files — Local Storage, Shared Folder or Veeam Backup Repository.

As I mentioned earlier, I will go with local storage and USB flash drive.

At the Local Storage step, there is an Advanced option that allows you to schedule active full backups periodically, to encrypt your backup files with a password and to change data reduction settings. You can read more about active full backups here.

The next step is backup scheduling. This option is very flexible and allows you to choose different days, different times or to trigger the backup job at certain events, such as log off, computer lock or when you attach the backup target.

Select the most appropriate time (daily or based on user activity via backup events) to back up your computer and click Apply. You are almost done.

At the Summary tab, you can select to run the job right after you press Finish. If you don’t select the check box, the backup job will run at the scheduled time. That’s it. The backup job is successfully configured.

Restore

With your files backed up on your recovery media, I can say that you are safe. But let’s see how you can actually restore some files.

Right-click the Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows icon in the system tray and select Restore > Individual files.

The file-level restore window opens and you need to select the restore point you want.

Click Next. The Backup Browser opens and here you can restore entire folders or individual files.

I’ve accidentally deleted one of the Veeam Community Forums’ Digests and now I need it back. No problem. The email file was in the Work folder that Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows backs up every day at 12:30 a.m. for me, so I will just recover it from there.

To restore an object, right-click the desired file or folder and select:

  • Overwrite to replace the original file on your computer with the file restored from the backup
  • Keep to save the file restored from the backup next to the original file on your computer. The restored object will contain the RESTORED- prefix in the name
  • Copy To… in order to save the file to a different location

In my case, the file was gone from the computer, so I chose the Overwrite option to save it to the original location.

You can also open your backup files in Windows Explorer. Your backup files are located in the VeeamBackup folder on the USB flash drive.

Here you will see files of two types: .vbk — full backups and .vib — incremental backups. When Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows performs the first backup job session, all data that you selected to back up will be copied to the target location — this is a full backup and will be saved as a .vbk file.

Incremental backup files .vib occur between full backups, and they only copy data that is new or changed since the last backup job session.

The restore operation can also be run from the Status tab of Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows, where you can see your backup timeline. Select the backup from which you want to restore and click Restore Files.

Conclusion

I hope my step-by-step guide will help you to properly back up your computer and keep your data safe. Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows FREE is a tool that takes only a few minutes to configure and doesn’t require very advanced technical knowledge. If you have any questions about Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows, just leave a comment and I will be happy to answer it.