How to Backup and Restore Windows 7 with OneDrive

Any user of Microsoft Windows 7 needs a proper backup system to avoid data loss in any case. Since Microsoft offers OneDrive client for Windows, you may want to use it as a cloud backup tool and storage. But it is necessary to understand the difference between cloud backup and cloud sync.

In this article, we will explain this concept and show how to backup and restore Windows 7.

Table of Contents

    Why Not Just Use OneDrive Agent

    Microsoft’s cloud storage service, called OneDrive, is a powerful tool for data sharing and accessing information from anywhere. Since this service also has a desktop agent with data synchronization support, it is easy to come to the incorrect conclusion that automatic sync is the same thing as a backup. But this won’t help if, for example, your computer gets infected by ransomware – the sync agent will simply replace files on the cloud with those already infected.

    Cloud sync just keeps the same set of files and folders on client devices and cloud storage. When altered files are uploaded, all clients download them automatically. Almost all public services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive are based on this kind of sync.

    OneDrive is focused on collaboration and easy data access. Therefore, it has a lower data volume cap, limited request rate and doesn’t support advanced features like block-level management.

    So, the primary difference between cloud backup/storage and cloud sync is in its purpose. Cloud backup saves a copy of data on remote storage to protect it from undesired events, at the same time cloud storage is designed for getting access to data from anywhere.

    If you need proper automatic backups, then it is necessary to use a third-party backup software. Let’s check how to create a backup using, for instance, CloudBerry Backup.

    How to Backup Windows 7 to OneDrive

    First of all, you need to sign up with a Microsoft Account to get access to the service. After registration, you may use OneDrive as a form of cloud storage – either for backup or collaboration. It is not necessary to install OneDrive client if you only want to upload data backups onto the cloud.

    Then, install the FREE, 15-day trial version of CloudBerry software for Windows cloud backup and follow the instructions below:

    • Click File-Add new account to add OneDrive storage as a backup repository, and select OneDrive Personal or Business (if using a free version – choose Personal).

    • In the next step enter a new account display name and click Sign in. Enter your Microsoft Account credentials and allow CloudBerry Backup to access OneDrive storage.
    • Now you can create the first backup plan – just click the Files button on the top left hand corner, to backup files onto OneDrive. File backup is a suitable choice in order to get your data back, in case of any malfunction or data corruption. If, however you want to create a backup of the entire system (including system files and boot partition) – use the Image Based option. As an example, we will use file backup.
      Note: you need at least, CloudBerry Backup Server edition to create image backups.

    • Next, you need to choose a backup strategy: either Local or Cloud backup or Hybrid Backup. The first option allows you to keep a separate data copy on a local storage or with a cloud service; yet Hybrid backup allows for the combination of both methods, thus achieving a more resilient data protection solution. If you want to learn more – check out our post about hybrid backup mode.
      We will use the Local or Cloud option as an example.
    • Then select newly created OneDrive account as a Backup Storage:

    • On the next few screens, you need to specify a Plan Name and then select a Backup mode of your choice, which will show or hide certain backup configuration options. Let’s choose Simple Mode for ease of demonstration, for the first backup configuration.

    • In the Advanced Options step you can enable VSS writer which allows you to create a backup of running apps and busy files – we suggest checking the first two checkboxes:

    • On the Backup source step, you need to select files and folders for backup. We suggest checking the entire drive partition or top-level folders.

    This approach can help when you add something to these folders in the future – all new data will be automatically, included in the backup task.

    • Advanced Filter feature allows you to get smaller backup archives by excluding unwanted data. You can exclude files by their extension, size or modification date, but we suggest including all files in a backup, as well as empty folders – it can be necessary to maintain folder structure in case of disaster.

    You need only skip hidden or system files, as they will often be automatically created by the system in case of restoration.

    • The next step is to enable compression and encryption. Options allowed depend on the backup storage used, for example, cloud storage typically allows you to enable server-side encryption with the selection of storage tiers. Retention Policy helps to keep a balance between the storage volume used for backups and data copies available.

    • You will then need to schedule Windows 7 backup runs. For data that changes often it is better to select a daily backup cycle, for anything else you may prefer a weekly or monthly basis.

    The following steps will help running pre- or post-backup commands (mostly necessary in corporate scenarios) and set email notifications for the job status. Now, your backup plan is ready.

    How to Restore from Windows 7 Backup 

    Recovering user data from cloud sources is an easy task with CloudBerry Backup. You need to:

    • Press on the Restore button in the main window.
    • Then, select OneDrive cloud repository.
    • Under the Plan Name, select Run restore once.
    • In the next step, choose Restore files and folders, for all intents and purposes.
    • Restore Point helps to choose the correct backup version. If you have more than one backup or want to restore certain versions of files, select the Point in time option and set the date and time. Otherwise, choose Latest version.
    • On the following screen, select the necessary file or folder from the available sources tree.
    • Subsequently, you should specify the target file location. In most cases, it is better to select Restore to specific location, as it can help to avoid data access collision or human error.

    Finally, specify the decryption key if you set one earlier and configure the well-known email notification settings. After pressing Finish on the last wizard step, the recovery process will commence.


    Now you know more on how to backup and restore Windows 7 using OneDrive repository. Using CloudBerry Backup you can implement any backup strategy with a mix of local and cloud repositories. Check out our enterprise backup software for free, during a 15-day trial to ensure it meets your needs!

    If you have questions left – we welcome you to the comments below.