How to Backup NAS to External Hard Drive (2 Ways)

Easy-to-use and free NAS backup software will help you easily backup NAS to external hard drive.


By Delia Updated on October 19, 2022

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Is it necessary to backup NAS to external hard drive?

Network-Attached Storage (NAS) is a file-level computer data storage server connected to a computer network providing data access to a heterogeneous group of clients. It is widely used in business and home group to share their data and information simultaneously by accessing remote NAS devices.

However, like any other hardware, a NAS or its hard drives are subject to problems such as power failure, hardware failure and physical damage. That’s why it is important to always perform NAS backup. Nowadays, it is not rare to do NAS to NAS backup, but once the similar problems appeared, hardware failure for instance, you may not be able to access any of NAS devices. 

Therefore, backing up NAS to external drive can be part of your 3-2-1 backup strategy to keep an intact copy out of the device, and protect your data from various of risks.

Best NAS Backup and Disaster Recovery Solution in Windows 10/8/7

How to backup NAS to external hard drive

Microsoft provides Windows Backup and Restore along with the operating system as data protection tool. However, it does not support selecting the network path as the source path. If you want to use it to backup NAS, then you need to map NAS as network drive first.

In Windows 7 and Windows 8:

Click Start -> Computer -> Map network drive.

In Windows 10 and Windows 11:

Click Start -> File Explore -> right-click This PC -> Map network drive.

Then give a letter for the NAS drive and navigate to the NAS device location. The sign of mapping successfully is your NAS router will show up as a letter drive under Network location and then you can perform backup with either backup software or Windows internal backup utility.

choose drive letter and path

Then you can search for "backup settings" in Windows, and select "Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7)". Then in the pop-up interface, click "Set up backup" to get started.

set up backup

First you will need to select a destination. External drive is the recommended option.

select destination

Next is the source data. You can select "Let me choose" and then select the mapped network drive (NAS).

select source data

You will also be given options to set up a backup schedule, but the functions are limited. If you don’t want to map network drive to local computer or if you require more advanced backup features like Incremental Backup, you need to turn to reliable third party backup software to complete backing up.

Tips: Some NAS brands provides add-ons to help you perform backup to external drive. For example, Hyper Backup for Synology NAS, you can check details in backup Synology NAS to external drive.

Easily backup NAS to external drive with free NAS backup software

AOMEI Backupper Standard is a professional and free backup software with user-friendly interface. It works with Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, XP, Vista, and storage devices including internal/external drive, USB flash drive, NAS, share folder, cloud, etc.

In a word, it helps to backup most brands of NAS devices, including Synology NAS, QNAP NAS, etc. to external hard drive within several clicks.

To customize the backup, you can set up a backup schedule on basis of daily, weekly, monthly; choose backup method to run NAS incremental backup or differential backup; create multiple backup tasks to better implement data protection strategy.

Download AOMEI Backupper Standard and install it to have a try:

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

☛ If you upgrade to Professional edition, you can also create a rention policy to auto delete old backups, perform event-trigger or usb plug-in backup, or sync files between 2 NAS in real time.

Step-by-step to backup NAS to external drive easily

With this software, you don’t need to map the NAS device to your computer. Just launch it and follow the steps below:

1. Select Backup -> File Backup. *If you want to create an intact copy of selected data for direct use, you can go to Sync tab and choose Basic Sync.

File Backup

2. Click Add File or Add Folder according to your needs. Click Share/NAS on the popping out window.

Add File or Add Folder

3. Then click Add Share or NAS Devices on the left-bottom corner. Type the required info of your NAS and click OK. Then you can select the specific folders you want to backup.

Select Synology Or Qnap Nas

4. Next, choose the connected external hard drive as destination path and click Start Backup.

Start Backup

Click the 3 buttons on the bottom to customize your backup (some options are available in advanced edtions):

Options: Comment on the backup, change compression level, encrypt backup, split backup image, etc.
Schedule Backup: Automate the backup to make it autorun daily, weekly, monthly, when event triggers (log in/out, startup/shutdown) or USB plug in.
Backup Scheme: Choose your backup method as full, incremental or differential backup. Here you can aslo enable the automatic backup cleanup and set up a retention policy you prefer.

★ Bonus tip: backup files to AOMEI Cloud

There is a growing trend to backup files to cloud storage. You can backup files to AOMEI Cloud if you create an AOMEI account. It offers you 1TB free storage for 15 days after you sign up for an AOMEI account.



AOMEI Backupper is comprehensive backup software which embedded with many powerful utilities. For example, you can clone boot drive to SSD for better performance with this program. Also, you can restore your system to another computer with dissimilar hardware using dissimilar hardware restore

Moreover, AOMEI Backupper centralized backup management can help you backup all machines within LAN on your server computer. AOMEI Backupper is one handy backup software that you don’t want to miss.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.