This article on MiniTool mainly teaches you how to configure your Windows system to automatically backup user data (every night at midnight) as well as take advantage of the professional MiniTool ShadowMaker to set up schedule backups.

The Background

There are few questions on Quizlet, a website to learn all subjects of knowledge, related to Windows automatic backup. Below is one of them.

Question: You have configured your Windows systems to automatically backup user data every night at midnight. You also take a system image back up once a month. What else should you do to ensure that you are protected against data loss?

Answer: Regularly test restoration procedures and store a copy of all backups off-site.

How to Configure Windows System to Automatically Back Up User Data Every Night at Midnight?

To complete this task, you have to rely on the Windows built-in Backup and Restore feature. The detailed guidance is below. Just follow it to set up a schedule to automatically back up user data every night at midnight.

Step 1. Click on the Start icon (the Windows logo usually on the bottom left corner, on the taskbar) and select Settings (the gear icon).

Step 2. In the pop-up Windows Settings window, choose the last Update and Security.

Step 3. Click Backup on the left panel.

Step 4. In the Backup tab, click Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Select Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

Step 5. In the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) window, select Set up backup under the Backup column. 

Choose Set up backup

Step 6. Choose where you want to save your backup, local hard drive, or network location. It is recommended that you save your backup file on an external hard drive.

Select Backup Destination

Tip: The target drive you choose to save your system image should have enough disk space. Also, it is not recommended to select place from the same physical disk as your system drive.

Step 7. Specify what items you want to back up. Windows gives you two choices:

Choice 1. Let Windows choose (recommended)

This method will back up digital data stored on the desktop, in libraries, and in default Windows folders. It will also create a backup of the operating system (OS) that can be used to restore your computer into the previous healthy state if it crashes due to virus attacks, software error, wrong operation, etc.

Choice 2. Let me choose

This method will allow you to choose which to back up on your machine. You are able to select libraries and folders. Also, you can decide whether to create a system image or not.


  • Both choices will automatically back up the items you select on a regular schedule.
  • A system image is a copy of the drives required for Windows to run. You can rely on it to restore your computer if it stops working.

Choose Your Backup Method

Step 8. If you select “Let me choose” in Step 7, then, you will be shown the items you can choose, user data files and volumes on the system hard disk. You can also “include a system image of drives”. If you select “Let Windows choose” in the above step, it will just skip this step.

Select What Do You Want to Back up

Step 9. On the “Review your backup settings” page, click on Change schedule.

Choose Change Schedule

Step 10. In the next window, set up how often you want to back up the above items you have chosen. Changed and newly created files since your last backup will be added to your backup according to the schedule you set. 

Set up Backup Schedule

If you plan to configure your Windows system to automatically backup user data every night at midnight, you should choose Daily behind “How often” and 12:00 PM (midnight) behind “What time”.

Step 11. Then, you will be redirected back to the Review your backup settings page. There, just click Save settings and run backup.

It will start to back up target items for the first time. During the backup process, there is a View Details button that enables you to see the backup condition. You can also interrupt the procedure if necessary.

View Details of Current Backup

When the initial backup completes, you can see the size of this backup, backup destination and its available space, next backup time, last backup time, backup contents, and backup schedule. It will carry out incremental backups in the future at the time you set.

Until now, you have configured your Windows systems to automatically backup user data.

How to Change User Data Backup Schedule in Windows 10/11 or Windows 7?

Even if you have already carried out the initial backup of your schedule scheme, or you have done several schedule backup processes, you can still change your backup schedule.

Step 1. Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7) from Windows 10/11 Backup Settings.

Step 2. Click Change settings.

Select Change Settings in Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

Step 3. Change your backup target disk if you want in the “Select where you want to save your backup” screen.

Step 4. Change your backup method if you would like to in the “What do you want to back up” window.

Step 5. Select Change schedule in “Review your backup”.

Step 6. Change your backup frequency and time point. Or, you can uncheck “Run backup on a schedule (recommended)” to disable automatic backup of user data.

Change Backup Schedule

Step 7. Click Save settings and exit in the “Review your backup” window.

Of course, you can turn on your schedule backup (last version) anytime you’d like to. Just click Turn on schedule in the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) window and you are scheduled.  

Turn on Schedule in Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

Finally, you have configured your Windows systems to automatically backup user data in a new schedule.

Note: Backup and Restore is no longer a maintained feature in Windows 10/11. You can make use of it now. Yet, in the future, Microsoft may remove this feature from its new system versions. The recommended backup function in Windows 10/11 is File History, which can also back up your user data.

Though I have known Windows schedule backup for years, yet, until reading this article, I completely learned how to configure my system to automatically back up user data at a specific time.Click to Tweet

Besides the self-contained backup and recovery function of Windows, there are a great many third-party programs that enable you to set up a schedule to automatically back up your user data. Among those backup programs, MiniTool ShadowMaker is recommended for its powerful features and reliable technology, which will protect your data from loss.

How to Set up User Data Automatic Backup with MiniTool ShadowMaker?

To make use of MiniTool ShadowMaker, first of all, you need to download and install it on your computer.

MiniTool ShadowMaker TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step 1. Launch the tool and click Keep Trial on the first screen. Yes, you are free to use this program for 30 days.

Step 2. Click on the right module to select the source items to back up in the pop-up window. 

Select Backup Source in MiniTool ShadowMaker

Step 3. Click on the left module to select the backup destination path (local hard drive or online shared NAS) in the pop-up window. 

Select Backup Destination in MiniTool ShadowMaker

Step 4. Click on Schedule in the lower left, switch on Schedule Settings, and set up your user data automatic backup in the pop-up window.

MiniTool ShadowMaker Schedule Setting

If you want to set a schedule to an already done backup task or change the schedule you have set to a backup, just move to the Manage tab, click on the Settings icon (three slashes) of the target backup task and select Edit Schedule. Then, just make your changes in the pop-up Schedule Settings window.

Edit Schedule in MiniTool ShadowMaker

Note: By default, MiniTool ShadowMaker schedule backups adopt incremental backup technology to save storage space.

Automatic User Data Backup: Windows Backup and Restore vs MiniTool ShadowMaker

As you can see from the above content, both MiniTool ShadowMaker and Windows Backup and Restore can configure automatic user data backup. Then, what’s the difference between them focusing on the automatic backup?

Daily Backup

Both programs support automatic daily backup. Yet, the detailed settings are different. as you can see from the above screenshot, MiniTool ShadowMaker lets you choose backup start time in the day, or you can select to run the backup process every 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, or 8 hours each day. If you choose the latter, it means that you will back up your user data several times within a single day.

As for Windows Backup and Restore, you can only back up once a day on the hour (select from 12:00 AM to 11:00 PM). 

Windows Backup and Restore Daily Backup

Weekly Backup

Both of the two programs support weekly backup. The difference is that MiniTool ShadowMaker allows you to choose which day(s) in a week and what specific time of the chosen day to carry out backup(s). You can back up several times a week.

While Windows Backup and Restore only allows you to select one day to back up user data on the hour. You can only back up once a week.

Weekly Backup Comparison

Automatic Backup Software - MiniTool ShadowMaker, PC Protection
Automatic Backup Software - MiniTool ShadowMaker, PC Protection

Need automatic backup software to automatically back up files or operating system in Windows 10/8/7? MiniTool ShadowMaker is a good option.

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Monthly Backup

Similarly, MiniTool ShadowMaker enables you to choose several days within a month to back up your files at a specific time (accurate to the minute) of each day. Thus, you will create several images within a month.

Whereas Windows Backup and Restore only enables you to select a single day in a month to back up on the hour. You are able to back up only once a month.

Compare Monthly Backup

Note: If you set up MiniTool ShadowMaker to run the monthly backup on 31st every month, it will skip February, April, June, September, and November, and only run backup in the rest months relying on the real calendar.

Event Backup

Besides the above three kinds of schedule backup based on the calendar, MiniTool ShadowMaker also offers backup based on special events, system log on and system log off. If you set “log on” event schedule backup on, when you power on your computer and log into your OS, it will automatically start to back up your user data. Or, if you choose the “log off” event schedule, when you shut down your machine and log out of your system, it will begin to back up your files automatically offline.

Event Schedule Backup

MiniTool ShadowMaker TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

You Have Configured Your Windows Systems to Automatically Backup User Data FAQ

You need to protect the user data on a Windows 8.1 system. Which tools could you use to do this?
File History or MiniTool ShadowMaker.
Why should backup media be stored offsite?
To prevent the same disaster from affecting both the system as well as its associated backup media.
Besides offsite location, where would be the next best place to keep your backup media?
In a locked fireproof safe place.
You need to protect the user data on a Windows 7 system. Which tools could you use to do this?
Windows 7 Backup and restore or MiniTool ShadowMaker.
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