The best programs offer some form of purging, removing older backups to make room for new ones. I've discussed this in detail.
You'll need software. Both Windows 7 and 8 have acceptable programs for backing up to an external hard drive. But there are better options. My current favorites are EASEus Todo Backup and AOMEI Backupper. The free versions are more configurable and thus more powerful than Windows' tools. The paid ones are even better.
3. Make an image backup of Windows itself
Backing up your data is vital, and should be done daily. Backing up Windows itself is just a good idea, and need only be done three or four times a year.
For this chore, you need to create an image backup, which copies the entire drive into one compressed but still huge file. Windows 7, Windows 8, and EASEus Todo Backup can all image-backup your drive. There's no cloud option here; you'll need an external hard drive. You can check my previous article for details.
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