By Jessie / Last update October 27, 2022

User Case

“Hello! What is the easiest/fastest way to backup my Windows? I am using Windows 11 and seriously consider to start making a full backup to external hard drive in case of a serious hardware or software problem. So, is there a perfect way to backup system safely and easily? Thank you!”

For users who need to backup Windows 11 to external hard drive, this article will introduce you two simple, quick and safe ways. One is built-in tool “Backup and Restore” and the other is third-party software “AOMEI Backupper”.

Reasons for Backing Up Windows 11 to External Hard Drive

Backing up Windows 11 means making an exact copy of Windows 11 operating system files, applications, data, etc. so that users can recover to the previous system state in time if they encounter system crash, hard drive failure, virus, human error etc.

Besides, backing up your Windows 11 to an external hard drive is more secure than an internal disk for it reduces the risk of backup image corruption.

How to Backup Windows 11 to External Hard Drive?

In this part, I will show you 2 methods to backup Windows 11 to external hard drive. You can choose the one that suits you best.

Method 1: Backup Windows 11 to External Hard Drive using Built-in Tool

The method most people think of first in their mind, is to use the built-in tool that comes with Windows called “Backup and Restore”. The built-in software can backup Windows 11 OS to external hard drive by creating a system image. If you have a problem with your system, you can restore the system backup and then use it again without installing anything. The following are specific steps.

Step 1. Go to  Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Backup Restore Win 11

 Step 2. Click Create a System Image option.

Create System Image Windows

Step 3. Choose the external hard drive where you’d like to store the system image backup and click Next.

On A Hard Disk

Step 4. Confirm your backup settings, and click Start Backup.

After that, you’ll be prompted to make a system repair disc. It needs a CD/DVD as storage device. If you don’t have a CD/DVD, you can make a bootable USB using built-in Recovery Drive tool or a third-party bootable media creator. Since it can help you start your computer if your Windows OS encountered any boot problem.

Create A System Repair Disc

Method 2: Backup Windows 11 to External Hard Drive using AOMEI Backupper

When you use the built-in tool to backup system to external hard drive, you need to pay attention to the following points:

  • It doesn’t support differential backup.
  • If you created a system image on a large disk, you can’t restore it to a smaller SSD.
  • It only supports to restore the whole system, so you cannot restore a single file from the image.

Therefore, if you are looking for a more secure and reliable software to backup and restore your system, you can choose AOMEI Backupper Standard. It has a powerful system backup function as well as features of partition backup, file backup,  and disk backup. Besides, it provides some additional functions.

  • You can write comments to your backups and set up email notifications.
  • It offers different backup modes (intelligent sector backup or exact backup) and different compression levels (high/normal/low).
  • You can backup your files with fixed intervals (daily/weekly/monthly) and choose a way to perform  the scheduled backup, both full backup and incremental backup are available.
  • It supports various storage devices, such as USB, HDD, SSD, etc.
  • It has great compatibility in the operating system (Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, 11, XP, Vista, etc.)

In addition, It offers various backup schemes (professional version), which can greatly meet your multiple needs and help you save time and disk space by deleting old backups.

Take Windows 11 as an example, you can easily follow the graphic tutorial below.

Step 1. Connect the external hard drive to your Windows 11 computer and make sure it can be organized. Download AOMEI Backupper Standard, install, and open it. Click Backup > System Backup.

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

System Backup

Step 2. Click where the arrow point to select the backup destination.

Select Destination

Step 3. Confirm your operations and click Start Backup.

Start Backup

Notes: You can use “Options, Schedule, Scheme”to enjoy more features.

▶ Options: It supports a variety of functions such as adding comments for system image, compressing, encrypting (supported by professional version) and splitting image files, etc.


▶ Schedule: You can use it to set up daily, weekly, monthly, event triggers or USB plug in to automatically backup Windows 11.


▶ Scheme: This feature (available in professional edition) helps you to automatically delete old backups to save backup disk space.

Backup Scheme

When the backup task is completed, you will have a system backup. If your computer fails, you can restore system backup to a new disk and then use it to boot your computer.

In addition, you can create a bootable USB to boot your computer in case it ever fails. If you do not have a USB or CD/DVD, you can choose to create Recovery Environment on your current computer. You can then access this software directly in the Recovery Environment without the device the next time you boot the system.

Create Recovery Environment


System backup is an effective way to protect your data. If you need to backup Windows 11 to an external hard drive, you can choose any of the methods mentioned above.

I prefer to choose AOMEI Backupper, because it is more stable and secure than the built-in tool. It can backup Windows and create an image of system partition. You can also make more detailed settings, such as write comments, set up notification, schedule backup and backup mode etc.

In addition, you can also use this software to perform file backup, partition backup and disk backup. If you want to know more about these features, go to download and use!