Safely Backup Hard Drive from Command Prompt | 4 Ways

4 solutions offered in this post to show you how to backup hard drive from command prompt in Windows 10, 8, 7.


By Ivy Updated on October 17, 2022

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How do I backup hard drive from command prompt?

“My hard drive showing the low disk space error in my Windows 10 computer, I want to backup the entire hard drive to external one to spare more free space on the hard disk, How do I backup my hard drive from command prompt? Or other backup tools should I know? Please help, thanks in advance.”

Backup Hard Drive From Command Prompt

In fact, there are two understandings of backup hard drive: copy hard drive with all the data included to another location, without compression, or backup entire hard disk to an image file with compression level.

>> To keep its original structure, try XCopy or Wbadmin. Xcopy is file-level backup for all Windows systems, DOS, etc and Wbadmin is used in Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10, 11 and Server 2008 (R2), Server 2012, Server 2016, 2019, 2022.

>> To avoid any unwanted access and keep your data safely, try AMBackup.exe. It supports backing up system, disk, file or partition in Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, 11. And you still can backup hard drive with GUI-version of this software if you want a simple way. 

Backup hard drive files via Xcopy command

According to Microsoft website, the syntax of Xcopy is:

Xcopy  [source] [destination] [/w] [/p] [/c] [/v] [/q] [/f] [/l] [/g] [/d [:MM-DD-YYYY]] [/u] [/i] [/s [/e]] [/t] [/k] [/r] [/h] [{/a | /m}] [/n] [/o] [/x] [/exclude:FileName1[+[FileName2]][+[FileName3]] [{/y | /-y}] [/z] [/b] [/j]

To copy all files and directories(including hidden or system files) from drive D to drive E, input the command:

xcopy d: e: /s /e /h

  • /s: Copy directories and subdirectories, unless they are empty.

  • /e: Copy all subdirectories, even if they are empty. 

  • /h: Copy hidden or system files.

Xcopy Backup Hard Drive

Besides, you could use the parameter:

  • /r: overwrite read-only files in destination if need be.

  • /d [:MM-DD-YYYY]: Copy source files changed on or after the specified date only. If not specify a MM-DD-YYYY value, and it copies all Source files to the destination.

  • /c: Ignore errors.

  • /y: Suppress prompting to confirm that you want to overwrite an existing destination file.

If the source and destination disk own the different format, use Xcopy command line instead of diskcopy (only support the same format disks).

Backup hard drive with WBadmin command prompt 

It’s easy for you to create a full backup that includes all the drives connected to your PC via Wbadmin command. Follow the steps below to backup hard drive from Wbadmin command prompt:

1. Open an elevated command prompt: You can type CMD in the search box, and in the listed results, right-click Command Prompt and choose Run as administrator.

2. Then run the following command: (backup disk to an image file).

wbadmin start backup -backupTarget:F: -include:C:, D:,E: -allCritical -quiet

Wbadmin Start Backup

This command will create a backup including your C, D, and E drive to F drive. When you write command to backup your hard drive, you need to change the drive letters based on your situation.

  • The switch: -quiet means to run the backup without prompting for extra input. Therefore, the backup will start right away after input this command.

  • If one of the partition that needs backing up does not have a drive letter, you can include this partition using volume GUID, which can be revealed by running “mountvol” command.

For example:

wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:\\\Public\backup -allCritical -include:C:,D:,E:,\\?\Volume{95b895b8-0000-0000-0036-223470000000}\

Wbadmin Backup

As you can see from the screen, WBadmin also allows you to backup to a network shared folder. If the shared folder is encrypted, you will need to use switch -user:username and -password:userPassword to input your user name and password. If you need to let WBadmin restore backup from command line, run wbadmin start recovery command prompt.

Backup hard drive with AMbackup.exe command

You could use the third-party disk backup software - AOMEI Backupper Professional, which provides you the command prompt named AMbackup.exe to create hard drive backup easily with a simpler command. It provides specified command to backup hard drive, partition, and system. 

To backup hard drive from command prompt to an image file using AMbackup.exe, please download AOMEI Backupper Professional first and have it a go. For server users, try AOMEI Backuppe Server.

Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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1. Execute the comprehensive disk backup software - AOMEI Backupper Professional.

2. Open an elevated command prompt and type the path of the installation directory of AOMEI Backupper and press Enter.

For example: cd C:\Program Files (x86) \AOMEI Backupper


Tip: After installing, right-click the AOMEI Backupper icon on the desktop, select Open file location to get the installation directory.

3. Write a command referring to the following to backup an entire hard disk:

AMBackup.exe /b new /t disk /s [source disk number] /d “[target location path]” /n “[task name]”

For example, the disk backup command prompt line is:

AMBackup.exe /b new /t disk /s 0 /d “E:\disk backup” /n “Disk Backup”

This command will create a new backup task named “Disk Backup” include the whole disk 0 to E:\disk backup folder.

  • /b: specify the type of backup, it could be new, inc(incremental backup), dif(differential backup) or full.

  • /t: specify the type of source, it could be system, disk, or part.

  • /s: specify the source for the backup.

  • /d: specify the destination path for the backup.

  • /n: assign a name for the backup.

Backup Hard Disk Command Prompt AMBackup

Once you run the backup task, and AOMEI Scheduler will open immediately at the lower right corner of the desktop, and the disk backup task will run backgrounds. See more details, please open AOMEI Backupper GUI to check.

Besides, you could use clone hard drive command prompt to clone the entire disk easily, just input the command: (copy all data, no compression).
AMBackup /c /t Disk /s 0 /d 1 /a

This command will clone disk 0 to disk 1 and using partition alignment to optimize for SSD.

  • /c: specify a clone task.

  • /a: specify to use partition alignment to optimize for SSD.

Clone Hard Drive Command Prompt

Input yes after executing the cloning to delete all data on the destination disk, or input no to backup critical data first, then run the above command line prompt.

Backup hard drive with GUI version of AMBackup.exe (Easier)

If the command line prompt is still complex for you, you could run the AMBackup.exe GUI - AOMEI Backupper. With which, you can easily backup hard drive, system, partition or files based on your needs. And you can set schedule backup, backup method, and backup retention in simple steps, without learning any parameter of the command prompt.

1. Open AOMEI Backupper GUI, select Backup -> Disk Backup.

Disk Backup

2. Choose the hard drive you would like to backup as source disk by clicking Add Disk, hit Next.

Add Disk

3. Tap another hard drive as a destination path to save data from source disk, hit Next. Afterward, press Start Backup to backup hard drive without command prompt in Windows 7/8/10/11.

Start Backup

Wait until the process complete, you will have an exact copy of your disk. It only backs up items when you run this task, not including changes made later

If you don't want to lose any data after this backup, you need to set Schedule Backup and backup disk in daily, weekly, monthly. Also, you can try Event trigger, or USB plug in on AOMEI Backupper Professional.  

Schedule Backup

By default this software will create one full backup and 6 incremental backup 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

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

AOMEI Email SMS Notification Settings

Sometimes, you may meet the unbootable issues when the Windows computer fails to boot, and intend to backup hard drive without Windows using bootable media created before.

Also, if you made a recovery environment in advance, you just need to restart your computer and then you will see an option like Enter into AOMEI Backupper. Select it and you will see the main page AOMEI Backupper Standard just as in Step 1. 


In the End

It’s easy to backup hard drive from command prompt if you are an IT profesional. But if you are not familiar with command prompt, try GUI version of AOMEI Backupper to backup hard drive afely and easily.

And you can set multiple  backup settings in the Schedule Backup, Backup Scheme, Options to simplify this task. For example, backup hard drive automatically without human intervention.

Also, you can create bootable media to boot up your computer and backup hard drive without booting into Windows. And it's especially useful when Windows 11/10/8/7 failed to boot and you can perform offline restore or dissimilar hardware restore.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.