By Lily / Last update October 21, 2022

What is a bootable backup?

A bootable backup is a backup of the entire system, including the Windows installation, settings, applications, and files. It is the most effective strategy against hardware failure, upgrade problems, virus attacks and other serious errors that can damage your system and corrupt your files.

With a bootable backup, you can restore your computer to an earlier date and the system will remain bootable after recovery. If your computer encounters a critical situation where it cannot boot normally, you’ll need a bootable drive to boot your computer before you can restore from the bootable backup image.

Best free bootable backup software for Windows 11/10/8/7

To create a Windows 11 bootable backup, reliable bootable backup software is indispensable. Here are two bootable backup utilities I’d like to recommend to you:

1. Windows 11 built-in backup tool

Just like Windows 10, Windows 11 has inherited the Backup and Restore utility from Windows 7. This utility allows you to set up a custom backup to backup specific files and folders. It also offers the “Create a system image” feature to help you make a bootable system backup.

2. Free backup software for Windows 11/10/8/7

Apart from Windows built-in tool, the best free backup software – AOMEI Backupper Standard can also help create bootable backups in Windows. Following are its main features:

  • 4 backup solutions: It offers four backup types, namely System Backup, Disk Backup, Partition Backup, and File Backup. Both System Backup and Disk Backup enable you to make bootable backups.
  • Various backup locations: It supports backing up to various locations, such as local disks, external hard drives, USB flash drives, network share, NAS devices, and cloud drives, etc.
  • Create Bootable Media and Recovery Environment: It is embedded with the Create Bootable Media and Recovery Environment features with which you can boot your computer when it refuses to boot.

Step-by-step guide to make a bootable backup on Windows 11

There are two methods you can choose, one is the built-in tool of Windows 11, the other is professional third-party backup software. Each method includes a detailed graphic tutorial. You can choose either method based on your own needs. Please read on. And I’ll show you how to use the bootable backup software mentioned above step by step.

Method 1: Create a Windows 11 bootable backup with the built-in tool

1. Press the Win + I keys to open Settings.

2. In Windows Settings, click System > Storage.


3. On the Storage settings page, click Advanced storage settings. Then, choose Backup options under Advanced storage settings.

Backup Options

4. On the Backup options settings page, click Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Backup and Restore

5. In the pop-up window, click the Create a system image option from the left pane.

Create a System Image

6. Choose a location to save your system image, and then click Next. If you choose to save the system image on a hard disk, the disk must be formatted as NTFS.

Select Destination

7. (Optional) Select any additional hard drives to be included in the backup and click Next. The drives that are required for Windows to run are included by default. 

Add Additional Drive

8. Confirm your settings, and then click Start backup.

Start Backup

9. After the backup is complete, you'll receive a prompt to create a system repair disc. If you’d like to have a system repair CD/DVD, click Yes. If you want to create a recovery USB drive later, click No here.

Create a System Repair Disc

Method 2: Make a bootable backup in Windows 11 via AOMEI Backupper

1. Download and install AOMEI Backupper on your PC. If you plan to save the backup on an external drive or USB drive, connect the drive then.

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

2. Open AOMEI Backupper. Click Backup and then select System Backup.

System Backup

3. The program automatically chooses the system-related partition(s) as the source data. Just choose a destination path as you wish.

Select Destination Path

4. Confirm the operation and click Start Backup to begin making a bootable backup.

Start System Backup

★ Other backup settings:

  • Options: you can compress or split an image file and enable email notification, etc.
  • Schedule: you can create automatic backups in Windows 11 to run at fixed intervals, such as daily, weekly, and monthly.
  • Scheme: You can choose different backup methods to run scheduled backup. Both incremental and differential backup method can improve your backup efficiency, but incremental backup is more demanding to restore and it is recommended that you choose differential backup (advanced version). You can also enable the automatic backup cleanup feature, which will periodically clean up extra backups for you to save disk space. This feature is available in AOMEI Backupper Professional and higher editions.

★ Helpful tips:

  • The System Backup feature only backs up Windows OS and applications and files that are stored on the system drives. If you want to backup Windows OS and data on the entire disk (C drive, D drive, E drive, etc.), please choose Disk Backup.
  • Use the Create Bootable Media feature to create a Windows 11 bootable USB drive so that you can restore your computer from a boot failure. Or you can create Windows 11 recovery environment to run system restore without booting Windows. 


There are two methods offered in this article to help you create bootable backups in Windows 11. Compared to Windows 11 built-in backup tool, AOMEI Backupper is more considerate, because it offers different backup types for different needs and it enables users to backup computer system on a schedule.

What’s more pleasing, AOMEI Backupper is a free SSD migration tool that allows you to migrate OS and data from HDD to SSD easily. Why not give it a try right now?