Please enable JavaScript to view this site.


Backup Assist is available to purchase from the Microsoft Store at a cost of £4.99 - link below.


N.B. For all loyal PC Assist @ Home customers it is available for FREE, please contact me via email for a download link.





To run Backup Assist double click the icon that appears on the desktop, or click the icon on the start menu.


Click Yes when prompted by the User Account Control security message.






You will then see the screen as shown below:







Select which items you would like to backup, or click Select All to choose all available items.


Choose your external drive (or mapped network location) in the drop down box.


Click Start Backup.


This switch allows you to enable Advanced mode which allows you to add custom sources to backup, to shutdown your computer automatically when the backup is complete, and to change the backup type (more details below - only change this if you fully understand the implications!)


You can also change the skin from Light to Dark depending on your visual preferences.



You may then see the below warning advising you to close any open applications e.g. Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Office apps (Word, Excel, Outlook etc) to ensure that all your files can be backed up successfully, once you have done this click OK to proceed.





Backup Assist will then proceed with your backup, firstly analyzing all the chosen files and then starting the backup process, progress will be displayed as below.


You may click Cancel Backup if you wish to stop the backup at any time.





If any errors occur during the backup you will see the following prompt.




Once the backup is finished (or cancelled) you will see the screen below, which will clearly indicate the backup status e.g. Backup Completed, Backup Completed With Errors, Backup Cancelled etc.


You can click Show Backup Log to show a detailed log of the backup process - if any errors had occurred and you received the previous alert then this will automatically be displayed for you.


You can also click Open Backup Folder to browse your chosen backup destination.


You can then click the X in the top right corner to close Backup Assist and disconnect your external hard drive and safely store it away until next time.






Useful Information




Warning prompt from security software



If after clicking Start Backup, AVG Internet Security (or whatever security program you have installed) pops up a warning that a program is trying to access files in your Document / Pictures folder - as shown below then you need to click Allow App if not Backup Assist will be blocked from being able to complete the backup for you





Backup Types explained





Incremental: This is the default backup type and the most suitable for general use, all new and modified files in your chosen sources since you last performed a backup will be backed up to the destination. Any files you have deleted from your chosen sources WILL NOT be deleted from the destination.


Mirror: This method creates an identical copy of your chosen sources on the destination drive, so anything new or modified in the source will be backed up to the destination, anything deleted from your chosen sources WILL be removed from the destination.


Full: This will perform a full backup of all your chosen sources into a destination folder which is date and time stamped to denote when the backup was created e.g. Z:\Backup\0911221521.


N.B. Only change these if you fully understand the implications - PC Assist will not be held liable for any loss of data caused by incorrect usage of the application.



Recovering backed up files / folders



Your backed up files can be located at X:\Backup\ComputerName\UserName\


Where X is the drive letter of your external hard drive, ComputerName is the name of your computer, and UserName is the name of your Windows user account.


Example image below shows a backup done on my computer.


So the drive "External Drive" has a drive letter of Z: my computer is called DESKTOP and my user account is darre, so files are located at Z:\Backup\DESKTOP\darre


To restore any of your backed up files navigate to this location and you can then copy / paste or drag / drop any of the files or folders you wish to recover





Backing up to a mapped network location rather than an external drive



Although this tool was primarily created to allow you to easily backup to an external hard drive, you can also use it to backup to a network location (mapped drive) but you do need to follow the steps below to be able to do this - if not you will see the following error in your backup logs. This is because the underlying code performing the backup requires administrative access to the destination location and mapping a drive normally in Windows File Explorer alone doesn't give it the required permissions.


Error Path: Z:\Example_Mapped_Drive_Path\Backup

Error Code: (0x00000003)

Error Description: The system cannot find the path specified.


For these instructions I am mapping drive Z: to a location called \\TESTPC\BackupFolder as an example.


1)Disconnect the existing mapped drive in File Explorer e.g. right click on it and choose Disconnect

2)Open Windows PowerShell as administrator - the quickest way is to right click on the Start Menu and choose Windows PowerShell (Admin) or Terminal (Admin)

3)Type the following command and press return (changing the drive letter and path to your desired driver letter and location):




4)Now map the drive in File Explorer as you normally would

5)You can now use Backup Assist to backup to this network location




Why is there no option to run a scheduled backup?



I often get asked why I haven't added the ability to run a backup at a scheduled time.


You can’t automatically schedule the backup to happen as that would mean leaving your external backup drive plugged in all the time and this is not recommended for several reasons as below:


1.        If your computer got a virus or malware then your external drive would also then get infected or could get wiped – defeating the point of having a backup

2.        If your computer was stolen and the backup drive was connected then they would likely steal the backup drive as well – again defeating the point of having a backup

3.        If you had a fire / flood or other disaster and computer was damaged and backup drive was connected it would also get damaged – again defeating the point of having a backup


You should run a backup, disconnect the external backup drive, and lock it away in a secure place away from your computer each time, and only connect it to perform future backups or when you need to recover a file from backup.




Why is my external drive not appearing in the Destination drop down box?



If your external drive is a My Passport from WD (Western Digital) then you may need to unlock it before you can access it, as these drives have hardware encryption which locks the drives and allows you to have an password set to secure them.


1.Open File Explorer via the icon on the taskbar (or start menu)

2.Double click the WD Unlocker - a prompt will appearing asking you to confirm unlock and enter the password if required

3.Once unlocked you will then see the external drive

4.You can now proceed to use Backup Assist and the drive will now appear in the Destination drop down box




© 2004 - 2023 PC Assist @ Home


Keyboard Navigation

F7 for caret browsing
Hold ALT and press letter

This Info: ALT+q
Page Header: ALT+h
Topic Header: ALT+t
Topic Body: ALT+b
Contents: ALT+c
Search: ALT+s
Exit Menu/Up: ESC