By Teresa / Last update October 13, 2020

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 used as 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 meltdown one day. What’s more, a regular backup on 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 external hard drive on Windows 10 with its internal backup utility - Backup and Restore, only to find that:

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 don’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 also free for Windows 7/8/XP/Vista. This software has a user-friendly interface which is perfect designed for people like me who has less experiences of computer. And it enables you to copy Windows operating system to USB flash drive easily.

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

Furthermore, this utility supports many useful features:

  • Schedule backup, really saves my time and effort.

  • System/disk/partition backup.

  • Partition clone.

  • File backup.

  • Incremental and differential backup, etc.

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 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 we can backup two or more external drives to a same place. Just select them all.

Add Disk

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

Select Destination

4. Now it is time to set up regular backup and incremental backup. Check Schedule box to set planned backup time and incremental backup (I find the incremental backup is set by default after I open the window, it will backup the changed data since the last backup).

Schedule Settings

Schedule Settings Advanced

Click Options to encrypt my backup image. 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.

If you would like to manage storage space while backup disk full, please upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional or other editions to enjoy the Scheme option. It enables you to delete old backup images automatically while exceeding the backup number that you specified.

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 to, for example, 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 to find one reliable and worry-free backup utility. What’s worth to mention, 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.