How to Backup Hard Drive without Booting Windows | 2 Ways

In need of backing up hard drive without Windows? Scroll down to get 2 feasible ways.


by Lily Updated on September 22, 2023

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Why backup hard drive without booting Windows?

People encounter countless computer issues now and then in their daily life. For instance, hard drive failure, booting problem, creating system image, backup PC to external hard drive, migrate OS to SSD, etc. Some of them are system maintenance operations, while some of them would affect the use of computer. What if you are unlucky to face the problem of booting failure? Reinstall the operating system does help you rebuild the OS, but what about the photos, documents, business contracts, and emails that stored in the old OS? You need to find a way to back them up.

In another situation, say the operating system could start normally. You may also want to backup hard drive without OS since it has faster backing up speed when close all system programs. There are reasons to backup hard disk without booting system. As long as you have one of them, you need to learn how to backup hard drive without Windows.

How to backup hard drive without Windows step by step

There are two ways to backup hard drive without OS. First, you can boot your computer through the installation CD/DVD and then copy data from the hard disk. If you have no installation disc in hand, then try method 2.

Method 1: Backup hard drive with Installer Disc

Here I’ll show you how to backup data from hard disk without OS using an installation disc. Follow the instructions below:

1. Plug an external hard drive to store the backed up data and insert the Installer Disc (take Windows 7 as an example). Then boot your computer and press any key when you see the Press any key to boot from CD or DVD message.

2. At the Windows setup dialog, set your appropriate settings and click Next.

3. Click on the Repair your Computer option.

Repair Your Computer

4. Click on your Windows 7 operating system in the list provided and click Next.

5. Select Command Prompt from the recovery tool list.

Command Prompt

6. In the Command Prompt window, type notepad and hit Enter. Then, you need to click File Open in the Notepad window.

Notepad from Windows Installer Disc

7. In the Open dialog, select All Files in the box of Files of type. Finally, click Computer, and you are able to copy and paste the files you care from the local disk to the external drive.

File Manager in Windows Installer

8. Once you are done, close all the windows and shut down your computer.

Method 2: Backup hard drive via AOMEI Backupper

Have no installation disc? Try creating bootable media with AOMEI Backupper Standard. Furthermore, the above method only helps you copy files but AOMEI Backupper enables you to backup the entire disk. You can also enjoy the following benefits of AOMEI Backupper:

  • It is free for Windows 7/8/10/11 with no bundled adware.
  • It has a user-friendly interface.
  • It supports to burn Windows PE image to CD/DVD/USB drive as well as just export ISO file to other places.
  • It offers various backup types, including system backup, disk backup, partition backup and file backup, etc.

Download AOMEI Backupper now and follow the step-by-step guide below to backup hard drive without booting Windows.

Download FreewareWin 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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☛ Notes:
● Prepare a USB drive that is big enough (64GB or 128GB), because it will be used to store Windows PE image as well as your disk image.
● Connect the USB drive with your computer. If your computer fails to boot, then complete bootable media creation on another well-working PC.

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Backupper Standard. Click Tools -> Create Bootable Media.

Create Bootable Media

Step 2. Choose Windows PE- Create bootable disc based on Windows PE. Then AOMEI Backupper will detect if you need to install Windows AIK or not (mostly you need to install this toolkit if you are running Windows XP or Vista). If you do, please install it first.

Windows Bootable Disc

Step 3. Select USB Boot Device. Click Next and wait for the process to complete. It will format the USB drive first and then execute the operation.

Select USB Device

Step 4. Unplug the bootable device after it has been finished. Plug it into the PC that contains the hard drive you want to backup. Start the PC and enter into the BIOS to change the boot sequence to boot from the USB drive. AOMEI Backupper Standard will launch automatically. Click Backup, and select Disk Backup.

Disk Backup

Step 5. Add the disk you need to backup.

Add Disk

Step 6. Select the bootable USB drive to store your disk image. At last, click Start Backup.

Select Destination

✍ Tips:
>> Schedule Backup: you can back up data automatically on a regular basis, such as Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event triggers and USB plug in.
>> Backup Scheme: you can choose backup methods - full/incremental/differential backup. You can also have the program delete old image files automatically to save disk space for you. You need to upgrade to higher editions to enjoy differential backup and auto backup deletion.

Backup Method

AOMEI Backupper Standard is pretty helpful to backup hard drive without booting Windows, especially when your operating system fails you. Actually, you can create a bootable USB and lay it aside. Then every time you want to backup hard drive without OS, the last three steps are all left to do. 

Also, you can choose to enable the boot option of AOMEI Backupper recovery environment by going to Tools > Recovery Environment. It enables you to backup or restore hard drive without booting Windows as well.

Final Words

This page offers you two ways to backup hard drive without booting Windows: using Windows installation disc or AOMEI Backupper. As you see, AOMEI Backupper provides more beneficial features, such as entire disk backup, schedule backup, and file sync, etc.

If you want to backup hard drive without booting OS in Windows Server, try AOMEI Backupper Server. Besides, this edition brings you command line backup option so that you can perform unattended tasks.

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.