By Delia / Last update October 14, 2021

It is necessary to create a backup of your hard drive

If your current Windows PC has some glitches, or it is in more serious issues, you may considering reformatting your computer hard drive and reinstall Windows. Doing so, it will fix all the software problem. 

However, as you know, reformatting a computer will delete all the data on your hard drive, so you should backup hard drive before formatting. A backup of your hard drive allows you to restore your system, or partial files from the backup. Therefore, after a clean installation or factory reset, you can restore partial files that you need from the backup.

Backup data before formatting in Windows 10/8/7

To backup your computer hard drive, first you can use Windows built-in backup and recovery tool if it is functional. To open Windows backup, you can type “backup” in the search box, and then select “Backup and Restore” in Windows 7, or “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” in Windows 10. Within the Backup and Restore screen, click “Set up backup” and then follow the Set up backup wizard to backup before hard drive format.

Backup and Restore

In Windows 8, there is also a backup feature called Windows 7 File Recovery that allows you to create entire hard drive backup like that is in Windows 7, which is unnoticed by the majority of users. To get to it, you can search for “backup” or “file history” and then select the File History. Within the File History feature screen, click the "Windows 7 File Recovery" button on the bottom left.

File History

Then it will bring you a screen like Windows 7 Backup and Restore. You can create backups like in Window 7 by clicking the “Set up backup” to get started.

Win7 File Recovery

Besides, you can also use WBadmin command to backup entire hard drive. No matter what Windows version you use, be aware that Windows backup only works with NTFS partitions. If you have partitions formatted with FAT32, you need to use third party free backup software.

Backup computer before formatting with free backup software

As backup and recovery software, AOMEI Backupper enables you to backup system, disks, partitions, and files to any other locations, so you can restore it to the original state when something unexpected happens. It allows you to create bootable media with CD or USB disk, so you can boot your PC from the bootable media to backup hard drive even when system crashes.

Backup before formatting hard drive:

1. Downlaod and run AOMEI Backupper.

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

2. At the Home screen, click “Backup” and choose the backup option you want. Here is “Disk Backup”.

Disk Backup

3. At the next screen, click to select the hard drive that needs backing up.

Add Disk

4. Click to select a destination location where you want to save the backup file. If you want to backup to external hard drive, just make sure it is well connected and recognizable in Windows File Explorer.

Select Destination

5. Click “Start Backup” to start the backup.

Start Backup

After the backup is done, you can restore it to another hard drive besides the original, and you can also selectively restore files from the backup. In order to protect your data, you can also clone your hard drive to SSD or another hard drive with AOMEI Backupper instead backup hard drive before formatting. 

If you ever need to restore this backup to dissimilar hardware computer, you can use AOMEI Backupper Professional Edition.