By Ivy / Last update March 24, 2022

Need to backup compact flash card in Windows 

CompactFlash (CF) is a popular flash memory card used in many portable electronic devices, like MP3, GPS, RFID, hard drives, especially used for the recording medium in Canon, Nikon and other cameras. And usually, it's formatted with FAT32, and has a longer life and lower unit capacity cost than other storage devices. 

You could store data to it and read them via a card reader connected with computer or other devices. In long run, the compact flash card may be fulfilled and you need to free up space of it to store new photos. The best way is to backup compact flash card and then delete it from your portable devices. Below are an example from forum:

Can I backup CompactFalsh card easily?

I need some help for my photos. I have taken a lot of pictures to record my travel day, I had some trouble backup my photos, I want to backup my photos from Compact flash card to another external hard drive to spare room for my camera, I did not find an effective and easy way in my own, anyone could give me some advices, Thx.

Best free compact flash backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard

To backup compact flash card (CF card), the best free CF card duplicator – AOMEI Backupper Standard will render enormous help. It provides you with two helpful ways, namely using Disk Backup and Disk Clone. And there are some differences between them:  

  Disk Backup Disk Clone
Best for Continuous data protection. Point-in-time copy.
Intrinsically different Pack all data on the disk to an image file and requires a restoration before accessing. Keep the data as it was in the source disk and you can access or modify it at any time.
Main advantages Support backing disk in daily, weekly, monthly and only changes by default.  Clone only used sectors of disk to another one; Manually or automatically adjust the partition size of target disk. 
Relative disadvantages The backup image is useless until you restore image to new hard drive or SSD.  You need to update this copy regularly, since it does not supports schedule backup.

Well then, how to choose method between them? You can choose them depending on your purpose, for continuous data protection or point-in-time copy and easy to access or modify.

Afterward, download the Compact Flash duplicator - AOMEI Backupper Standard first and install it. It works well in Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10/11. For For server users, try AOMEI Backupper Server.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

How to Backup CompactFlash card step by step

Before backing up or cloning Compact Flash card, prepare the following.

  • Computer with Windows installed.

  • Prepare a CF card reader.

  • An external hard drive, to save the backup file from your compact flash card. Or, just save to the computer if possible.

After that, backup or clone card with CF card duplicator with corresponding methods.

Method 1: Backup compact flash card with Disk Backup feature

1. Connect your Compact flash card via CF card reader and external hard drive with your computer, and then run AOMEI Backupper. Choose Backup -> Disk Backup at the left panel.

Disk Backup

2. Input a Task Name at the top of window.

3. Click "Add Disk" to choose the Compact flash card.

Add Disk

4. Select external hard drive to save to CompactFlash card backup image file.

Select Backup Destination

Tip: You could also backup Compact flash drive to other locations, like local disk, USB drive, SSD, NAS, Network path, cloud drives, etc.

5. Click Start Backup to backup Compact flash card in Windows 7/8/10.

Start Backup

This way only backup items currently on the Compact flash card, not including changes made later. To keep all changes made later, you need to set Schedule Backup and backup CF card automatically. You can choose among Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event trigger, and USB Plug in. The last two premium features are available on the professional version.

Schedule Backup

By default this software will create one full backup and 6 incremental backups if you set a scheduled backup task. This may result in backup disk full issue in the long run, thus it's suggested to enable Backup Scheme and delete backup file automatically. You have 3 options, By quantity,  By time, By daily/weekly/monthly. You need to upgrade now (5% off for one computer) before using it. 

Enable Automatic Backup Cleanup

And the incremental backup has high requirement for recovery while differential backup is much easier. For differences between them, learn my previous article: Incremental or Differential Backup.

Besides, you still can enable email notification after the task finished. Comment, split, compress the backup image, or select a backup mode, etc. 

AOMEI Email SMS Notification Settings

Ok, here, your Compact flash card has been backed up successfully to the external hard drive, and all the pictures and other data has been compressed into a single image file suffix with .adi.

Then, you can easily restore Compact flash card and photos on it. Please turn to the Home tab, pitch on the disk backup task and select Restore > Restore the entire disk subsequently, choose a destination drive to store it and click Start Restore

Home Restore

Method 2: Clone CompactFlash Card with Disk Clone feature

Except for backing CompactFlash card, you can still clone CompactFlash card to another hard disk with this software. Please follow the steps below carefully.

1. On the main page AOMEI Backupper Standard, select Clone > Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

2. Choose CompactFlash card as the source disk to clone.

Choose CompactFlash Card

3. Pick the external hard drive as the destination disk.

Choose Larger Disk

4. Press Start Clone >> to clone CompactFlash Card with CF card duplicator. If your external disk is an SSD disk, tick SSD Alignment to further improve the disk performance of it.

Start Clone CompactFalsh Card

Also, you can use Edit Partitions if your new SSD is larger. Usually, in this case, the extra space will be marked as unallocated space after cloning and you cannot use it for storage before repartition.

And this is what Edit Partitions can do for you. You can choose to add unused space to all partitions or manually adjust partition size.

If the source and destination disk is different, you will see another option - Convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT or vice versa. It works well in cloning MBR disk to GPT or GPT to MBR. This requires you to upgrade now and enjoy.

Edit Partition

Also, you can choose to clone all sectors of SSD disk to another with Sector by Sector Clone. Note it requires the destination disk should be larger enough or at least equal to the source disk. 

In the End

You can choose to backup Compact Flash card or clone Compatc Flash card with simple clicks. Both of them can help you make an exact copy of your photos on the card, but has slight differences based on your purpose. The previous one focuses on continuous data proection while the later one is focused on point-in-time copy and data availability.

Meanwhile, AOMEI Backupper also allows you to backup external hard drive to another external hard drive, clone large HDD to smaller SSD, clone Samsung SSD to another, replace laptop HDD with SSD, etc. Also, you can deploy images to multiple computers simultaneously with AOMEI Image Deploy if you are currently using AOMEI Backupper Technician Plus.