Back up everything on your PC With Paragon (2021 Guide)

Paragon Backup & Recovery (Advanced) 2021 Free Application could save your PC’s life. It takes a complete, or partial, backup of your computer while it’s still working.

Launch a web browser and visit the official website for the free download of Paragon Backup & Recovery (Advanced) 2021 Free.

backup with paragon

Now locate and double-click the file (called ‘br_free_advanced.exe’) and follow the wizard to install the program.

When prompted, click Get Free Serial to return to the web browser. Fill in the short registration form, and the requisite product and serial keys will be sent via email.

When this message arrives, open it and copy and paste both keys into the required boxes before clicking Next to complete the installation. After clicking Finish, the program will recommend the PC is restarted – click Yes to do so.

Launch Paragon Backup & Recovery by double-clicking its shortcut on the Windows Desktop: Windows 10 and 8 users may need to click Yes or Continue if prompted by the User Account Control dialogue box.

When the program’s main screen appears, take a moment to review what’s shown. The default view is Disk View, which provides a graphical representation of the hard disks that are attached to the PC. Identify the drive that will serve as the destination for the backup – an external USB drive, for example.

This drive will contain what Paragon dubs the ‘Backup Capsule’, a reserved part of the drive where the Paragon backups will reside.

To create the Backup Capsule, open the Wizards menu and select Backup Utilities followed by Manage Backup Capsule.

Leave Advanced Mode unticked and click Next. Select the backup drive and click Next again. Paragon will attempt to set a suitable size for the Backup Capsule using the free space available on the disk.

Use the slider to adjust the setting as required – a comfortable minimum is 50GB, but use the slider to adjust upwards if necessary, leaving enough free space on the disk for other files if required.

Click Next followed by Finish to return to the main screen. The Apply button will be highlighted – click this followed by Yes to create the Backup Capsule. 

A progress window will open. Paragon will first check the disk for errors, then perform the actions necessary to prepare the drive for the Backup Capsule just created in the space freed up.

This process can take some time, so be patient. Once it’s complete, click Close to return to the main screen. Select the Disk View tab and the Backup Capsule should be visible in the Disk Map section.

With everything in place, it’s time to take the first backup. Click the Back Up button in the Basic Backup/Restore Tasks task pane. Click Next to select the drive or drives to be backed up.

If the PC has only one hard disk, select the entire drive by ticking the Basic Hard Disk box that refers to the drive (‘Basic Hard Disk 0’ in most circumstances). If backing up a single partition (typically drive C), then tick First Hard Disk Track and ‘Local Disk (C:)’ before clicking Next.

Whole drive images can also be saved to local hard disks, network folders or optical disc (Blu-ray, DVD or CD), but we’re using the Backup Capsule, so leave ‘Save data to the Backup Capsule’ selected and click Next.

Paragon will provide a default name for the backup, which can be changed if required

paragon backup wizard

Plus, it reveals the likely size of the backup. Click Next again. Use the Comments field to provide details of the state of your computer at the time of the backup, leave ‘Back up Now’ selected and click Next. Review the settings, and click Next followed by Finish.

To perform the first backup, click the Apply button followed by Yes. The progress window will appear, along with an estimate of how long the backup process will take.

To let the program get on with the backup process while you work on something else, click ‘Minimize to system tray’ to hide Paragon from view (click its icon in the Notification Area to restore it).

If backing up late at night, ticking ‘Shutdown system on complete’ will prompt the computer to switch itself off automatically when the backup finishes.

Once the backup completes, click Close if necessary to return to the main screen. Switch to the Archives tab to view the backup. To view more details about it, click to select it.

This also offers access to additional options. Start by clicking the Check Archive Integrity link to verify that the archive isn’t corrupt.

Click Next twice, and wait for the test to be performed before clicking Finish once the archive has been verified successfully. If it reports the archive is corrupt, perform a new backup. We’d recommend repeating this step each time you take a new backup.

It’s also possible to use Paragon to create a special ‘recovery disc’ that can help restore the PC if Windows won’t start. To do this, insert a blank CD or DVD into the appropriate drive, open the Tools menu and select Recovery Media Builder. Click Next, select CD/DVD and click Next again. Leave Typical selected and click Next, then select the drive containing the blank disc and click Next again. Leave Writing set to Maximum, tick ‘Eject the disc after writing’ and click Next to create the disc. When the disc ejects, label it and keep it in a safe place. Click Finish to end.

It’s a good idea to update backups on a regular basis, to reflect changes that are made to the computer.

Paragon supports ‘differential’ backups, which only record the changes made since the last backup was taken. This helps reduce the size of backup files and also saves a lot of time.

To create a differential backup, choose the Archives tab and click to select the original backup. Click Differential Backup and, when the wizard opens, it will follow a similar set of steps to the original backup process (see Step 5), with one difference: there’s no need to select the destination drive or partition.

How to Create Automatic Paragon Backups?

To make Paragon take backups automatically on a regular basis – say every two weeks – choose Schedule backup on the Backup comment and mode screen.

Click Next, then choose Weekly from the Once dropdown menu, change ‘Every 1 week(s)’ to ‘Every 2 week(s)’ and pick a suitable time and day of the week for the backup to run.

As before, if backing up late at night, tick ‘Shutdown system after backup’ to have the PC turn off automatically after the job is complete. Once set up, click Next twice followed by Finish, and Paragon will take a differential backup automatically on the time and day specified.

Should Windows ever fail to start, restore a working backup using the recovery disc created in Step 9.

Pop this disc into the appropriate drive, and restart the computer: it should automatically launch from the inserted disc (if not, you may need to edit the drive ‘boot order’ in the computer’s Bios settings – try pressing F2 or Delete soon after the PC is powered on).

When the first menu appears, leave Normal mode selected and press Enter. After a short while, a second menu will appear: to prevent the possibility of losing documents, emails or other files recorded since the last backup was taken, double-click Paragon Backup and Recovery.

When the main screen appears, verify that the Backup Capsule (coloured green) is visible at the top. Next, make sure ‘Basic Hard Disk 0’ is selected and double-click the ‘Back Up Hard Disk…’ entry under ‘Pick a task’.

Type a suitable comment into the ‘Archive text comment’ field to help identify this backup, then click the Backup button.

Finally, click the Apply button followed by Yes and wait while a fresh backup of the hard disk is copied to the Backup Capsule. Once done, click Close to finish. Open the General menu and choose Exit.

Next, double-click Simple Restore Wizard. Leave ‘Search archive images on all hard disks’ ticked, then click Next and wait for the wizard to scan the backup device.

When all backups are listed, double-click the relevant backup in the list – this populates the Select image box below.

Click Next, review the warning and click Yes to restore the last backup. Once it’s complete, click Finish, eject the disc and restart the computer, which now has been returned to the point in time when the selected backup was taken.