How To: backup your phone using your computer

Its amazing how often we hear about people loosing their smartphones and consequently all the photos and memories on them. Don’t be one of those people! Here’s a basic, easy way to create a point in time backup of the files on your phone and store them on just about anything such as a computer or a memory stick (USB/SD).

The nice thing about this solution is that it’s about the cheapest way to create backups. Secondly they these backups won’t take precious cloud storage up (if you choose USB/SD). It’s also a good idea to have a backup of your memories that isn’t stored in the cloud in case you loose access to your account.

Certainly it may not be as elegant as using Samsung’s Smart Switch program but it doesn’t use a proprietary data storage format and will work on any android device as well. Besides, this isn’t about being able to restore from the cloud, it’s about being able to restore if the cloud is not available.

What you’ll need

  • A backup location. This can be the cloud or a USB drive. It can also be the computer that you will connect your phone to.
  • A computer. Although you can backup your phone without a computer, this guide assumes you’re going to use it.
  • Your phone’s USB cable

Lets start

First things first, connect your phone to your PC. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a prompt on your phone asking to allow access. Press Accept.

In Windows File Explorer, find your computer in the list on the left and click on it.

If your phone has an expansion card, you’ll see two icons: phone and card. Not to worry, you can back up both of them!

file manager phone contents

Choose which you want to backup, and double click on that item. It’ll open a listing of all the folders and files on that storage device.

For photos from the camera (and video!) you’ll find them in the DICM\Camera folder. Documents and Downloads are in their respective folders as well. These are the minimum locations that you should consider backing up as they contain data that was created by you.

Right click on the respective folder you want to backup, and choose copy from the menu. Now is the fun part! you get to choose where to put that backup copy!

browsing android phone

You can store it in your OneDrive folder, Google Drive, or other cloud storage provider, or you can put it on the computer in your documents, pictures and downloads folders. Or alternatively, plug in a USB thumb drive or external hard drive and place them there.

Once you’ve decided, I like to create a new folder in that storage location and give it a name. Right click and choose “create new folder”. A good example for a folder name would be “Phone Backup <date>” substituting the date in the name. When you are done right click on the folder and choose paste. Your files will begin to copy.

File manager - create backup folder

It may take some time to copy your files especially if you love to make videos with your phone! Have a coffee and wait for the status bar!

Check out more of our How-To’s for additional great tips like this one.

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