By Lily / Last update December 13, 2021

Need to backup one external hard drive to another in Windows

Sometimes we backup our important data or backup PC to external hard drive for better protection. While backing up external hard drive to another external hard drive seems necessary when one external hard drive has been used as a storage device.

For example, I store my photos on the newly bought 1 TB external hard drive, and I would like to backup this new drive to another external drive in case hard drive fails or computer meltdowns one day. What’s more, a regular backup on an external hard drive would be better for me because I wouldn’t expect myself to remember to backup manually every time.

Also I prefer incremental backup to backup only changed data to save my disk space. If I can encrypt my backup image I will feel even better (don’t call me greedy, you can’t be more careful with your data as well).

How to copy one external hard drive to another directly

I tried to backup external hard drive to another external hard drive on Windows 10 with its internal backup utility - Backup and Restore, but only to get disappointed by the limitations:

1. It supports backup TO external hard drive not backup FROM the external hard drive. Yes, I can create system backup image to external hard drive or backup files to external drives with Windows tools, yet it is not my type. 

2. Windows Backup and Restore software doesn't allow you to create a system image to USB flash drive.

Lucky enough, I find one handy backup software that is free for my OS (I am running Windows 10) named AOMEI Backupper Standard. It is also free for Windows 7/8/XP/Vista and the latest Windows 11. This software has a user-friendly interface which is perfect for people like me who have less experience with computers. And it enables you to copy Windows operating system to USB flash drive easily as well as backup external hard drive to another external hard drive.

It is compatible with all brands of external hard drives, such as WD MyBook Duo, Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC, Toshiba Canvio Basics, LaCie Porche Design, WD MyPassport, Adata SD700 External SSD, Samsung T5, WD Wireless Pro, etc.

Furthermore, this utility supports many useful features:

  • Schedule backup. It will copy one external hard drive to another automatically, which really saves my time and effort.

  • System/disk/partition/file backup. It provides you with different backup solutions, so you can choose one of them per your needs.

  • Incremental backup. It will backup only changed files while creating an incremental backup, thereby greatly alleviating the backup disk full issue due to accumulated backups.

  • Partition clone. If you save all of your files in a single partition, you can choose to clone this partition for data migration. And you can directly use with restoring image file.

In my situation, I stored mostly photos, documents, personal files, videos, and music on my external drive, so I would choose disk backup to get what I want.

Backup external drive to another external drive with free software

First of all, connect both external hard drives to my PC. Then download, install and open AOMEI Backupper standard. 

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Now, I’ll show you the fastest way to transfer files between two external hard drives.

1. Select Disk Backup under Backup directory.

Disk Backup

2. Select the 1 TB external hard drive as the source disk. Note that you can backup two or more external drives to the same place. Just select them all.

Add Disk

Note: You cannot restore multiple disks to a larger disk. Please restore them one by one.

3. Click to select the other external hard drive as the destination hard drive.

Select Destination

4. Click Schedule Backup in the left bottom to set planned backup time. 

Schedule Settings

Then, go to Backup Scheme to set up regular incremental backup, it will backup changed files since the last backup. You may find it's the default backup method, just click OK to confirm. 

Incremental Backup

★Helpful tips:
Incremental backup can help you improve the backup disk full issue, but it requires all the backup versions to be intact. If any of these backups become corrupted, it will be useless. Thus, it's suggested to use different backup (supported by the professional version).
Except for incremental or differential backup, you still can delete old backup images automatically using the Backup scheme feature. It is a zero-increase method that can resolve the backup disk full issue completely. 
Enable encryption for backup allows you to set a password for your backup image, you can click Options to enable it. And it is an advanced option so upgrading is needed.

Backup Settings

5. Finally, click Start Backup, and it will backup one external hard drive to another without interrupting my work flow.

Other helpful features on external hard drive backup

I also find some features of this software that might be useful in the event of external drive duplication. List them one by one for reference.

  • Sync. It is useful to sync files between two external hard drives when they are connected to one computer. Its advanced mode, real-time file sync, allows us to synchronize changed files in real time.

  • Disk clone. I found backing up disk may be not the only way to transfer data between two drives. If you want to, a direct external hard drive to external hard drive clone is available. The biggest advantage of this method is that it saves the steps to restore a backup image.

  • Bootable rescue media. This feature is not related to external hard drive backup directly, yet it provides an extra layer of protection for host operating system. Create a bootable device in advance and when system fails unexpectedly, we can use it to boot up computer and backup hard drive without booting Windows.

There are other features such as check image and email notification that I cannot explain all, but this free software really a comprehensive tool that offers many practical options. Get it and explore by yourself.


It is not uncommon for us to backup external hard drive to another external hard drive. The question is how to find one reliable and worry-free backup utility. What’s worth mentioning, either the source external hard drive or the destination one, you need external drive backup software to back them up for double security.

AOMEI Backupper standard meets most of my computer and hard drive backup needs. I also restored Windows 10 backup to dissimilar hardware last week for my friend’s computer with the tutorial and the system works great till now. In my opinion, try it and maybe it will surprise you.

If you are Windows Server users, its AOMEI Backupper Server is suitable for you. This advanced edition allows you to merge backup images on external hard drive and manage storage space conveniently. You are able to do command line backup & restore as well.