By AOMEI / Last Updated June 8, 2020

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Why We Need to Backup C Drive to External Hard Drive?

In Windows, disk drives are identified by letters. The C drive is then assigned to the main hard disk partition that contains the operating system and system files. In the process of using computer, there are many reasons why we need to back up the C drive to the external hard disk, such as:

  • The operating system and applications can be reinstalled, but it may be difficult or impossible to recreate your system files.

  • Malicious software, viruses, physical damage, and theft could cause data loss. For the sake of these issues, your operating system may crash, and backing up your C drive to external hard drive can restore the files which are critical for you.

  • An external hard drive is easy to use, portable and increasingly cheap. You just need to plug it into computer using USB port when you need to backup, and pull out when all the operation is done.

  • Once the backup is done and the external hard drive is disconnected, your data won’t be affected by computer. It is an efficient way to protect your data security.

Now the question is how to create an effective backup. Don’t worry, you can backup C drive to external hard drive easily under the guidance of this tutorial.

How to Backup C Drive to External Hard Drive in Windows 7/8/10?

There are many methods that can be used to create backup image and the top 2 ways to backup C drive to external hard drive are listed here.

Backup C Drive to External Hard Drive via Freeware

When you choose one way to backup your data, you must consider the convenience, price and ease of use, the number and size of your files. AOMEI Backupper can give you the best user experience. It is steady, safe, intellectual software which enables you to backup C drive to external hard drive efficiently.

AOMEI Backupper supports system/disk/partition/file/folder backup and you can back up on local disk/NAS/Cloud Clients/USB drive/CDs. Besides, the interface is very user-friendly. Even if you are a computer freshman, you can learn the manipulation fast and easily. Now let’s learn how to backup C drive on external hard drive step by step below.

Step 1. Download AOMEI Backupper, install it.

Step 2. Plug the external hard drive into the computer USB port, and wait the external hard drive’s driver installed until you read the “Your new hardware has been installed and is ready for use” prompt.

Step 3. Launch the AOMEI Backupper, click the "Backup" option, then select the "System Backup".

Tips: System Backup will add all system-related partitions to the backup source list, including C drive. If you just need to back up C drive, choose the Partition Backup module.

System Backup

Step 4. Enter a Task Name to let yourself identify the backup task from others. We can see that the system-related partitions are selected automatically. Then choose the external hard drive as the destination path. Here its corresponding drive letter is “F:\”.

Select Destination Path

Step 5. Click the "Start Backup" if you are sure all of the settings are right. When backup is done, click the "Finish" button.

Start Backup


  • You don’t need to use Disk Backup for OS backup because operating system and system files are stored in C drive in the default situation.

  • Pull the external hard drive out after you have confirmed that the backups of C drive exist in our external hard drive.

  • Remember to plug the external hard drive into computer to do the automatic backup.

Backup C Drive on External Hard Drive by Windows Built-in Tool

Windows allows you to set scheduled backup by two ways: File History and Backup and Restore (Windows 7). Select File History if you plan to back up files and choose Backup and Restore Utilities if you want to create system image backup. Backing up C drive means backing up your system, so pick Backup and Restore here.

Step 1. Click the search box in the taskbar, type “Control Panel” and press Enter. Then choose “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)“.

Step 2. Click “Set up backup“ on the right side.

Set up backup

Step 3. Choose a destination drive to save the system image, then click “Next”.

Select Backup Destination

Note: The destination drive must have sufficient capacity to store backups.

Step 4. Click “Let me choose” for custom selection and check Local Disk (C:) in the next page. Don’t forget to check Include a system image of drives“.

Choose Backup Files

Step 5. In the View Backup Settings window, we can click “Change Schedule“ to set the schedule backup task or leave the default settings. Finally, click “Save Settings and run backup“. Then, wait the operations to complete.

Run Backup


With these two approaches, backing up C drive to external hard drive is no longer a problem. In addition, AOMEI Backupper has other powerful functions, including but not limited to set backup disk, restore system to another drive.

If you want to backup computer onto external hard drive, you may download and try AOMEI Backupper at once.