2 Easy Methods for Creating System Image Backup in Windows 11

Learn two simple methods to create system image backup in Windows 11. Use Windows built-in tool and free Windows 11 image backup software to make it happen. Read on for more details.


By Clytze Updated on April 26, 2024

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To keep your system safe and sound, it's important to know how to make a complete image backup in Windows 11. Unlike regular file backups, an image backup captures everything on your system: the operating system, apps, settings, and files. This gives you a full snapshot of your system for a complete recovery. In this guide, we'll show you how to create an image backup step by step, ensuring you can quickly restore your system if anything goes wrong.

User Case: How to Create Windows System Image Backup

“Hello everyone. What is the best software to create system image bakcup? Is Windows 11 built-in tool to create system image reliable? I don’t know how reliable it is. So, is there any better software to do that? I want to create a proper image of my whole drive C because I am gonna have to restore it later and if I can’t, it would be bad. So, any help would appreciated.”

Windows 11 Logo

Many users often wonder how to create a system image backup in Windows 11. In this article, we'll address this common concern by providing two simple methods to help you create a system image backup. By following these methods, you'll be able to safeguard your system and files effectively. Let's dive in and explore these solutions together.

Reasons for Creating System Image Backup in Windows 11

As we all know, if your computer suddenly encounters problems such as system crash, computer blue screen, virus infection, etc., they may cause data loss, and even make your computer fail to boot. However, it will be very troublesome to reinstall the system directly. All the software needs to be reinstalled.

1. Comprehensive Protection: A system image backup captures the entire state of your system, including the operating system, applications, settings, and files. This ensures that you can restore your system to its exact state in case of data loss or system failure.
2. Quick Recovery: With a system image backup, you can quickly recover from software issues, hardware failures, or other catastrophic events without the need for lengthy troubleshooting or reinstalling everything from scratch.
3. Data Integrity: System image backups help maintain the integrity of your data by providing a reliable backup solution. This is particularly important for critical files and documents that you cannot afford to lose.

Therefore, you need an easy way to prevent these situations from happening and protect your data, that is, you can create a system image on your existing system. When your system goes wrong you can do the system image recovery directly, which can save a lot of time and effort.

How to Easily Create System Image Backup in Windows 11 Step-by-Step

Creating a system image backup can save a copy of the system, as well as easily restore it. In other words, users don’t need to reinstall the OS and APPs to obtain the same system. So here are two simple and easy ways to create a system image backup in Windows 11. One is Windows built-in tool “Backup and Restore”, and the other is a free backup software “AOMEI Backupper Standard”.

Create System Image Backup in Windows 11 by Built-in Tool

The first method is to use the Windows 11 Backup and Restore to create the system image backup. You need to prepare a storage device to store the created system. Take the external disk as an example, and the following is a detailed graphic tutorial. Please follow it and learn how to create a system image backup on a hard drive.

Step 1. Go to Control Panel > System and Security. Then click on the Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7) link.

System Image Windows 11

Step 2. On the next screen, click on Create a System Image option.

Create A System Image

Step 3. Select the external disk where you want to store the System Image Backup and click on Next.

Create A System Image Select Destination For Backup

Step 4. Wait for your computer to complete the process of Creating a System Image Backup. 

After it is completed, you will generally be prompted to do a system repair disc. It requires a CD/DVD as a storage device.

If you don’t have a CD/DVD, you could create a bootable USB with the built-in tool Recovery Drive or third-party media creator. Since you need to use the bootable disk to boot the computer if cannot boot.

Create A System Repair Disc

Restore System Image Backup in Windows 11 by Built-in Tool

After you complete the system backup, if your computer runs into any issues, you can restore the system image backup to a new hard drive to get your computer back easily and quickly. Please follow the steps below to complete the restoration.

Step 1. Connect the External Hard Drive containing the System Image Backup to your computer.

Step 2. Go to Settings > Update & Security and click on Recovery on the left. On the right side, scroll down and click on Restart Now button located under the “Advanced Startup” section.

Advanced startup

Step 3. Once the computer Restarts to Windows recovery environment mode, click on Troubleshoot > Advanced options > System Image Recovery.

System Image Recovery

Step 4. In the re-image your computer window, choose Use the latest available system image and then click Next.

Use The Latest Available System Image

Step 5. Choose Format and repartition disks option, then click Next > Finish > Yes to start the restoration.

Format Repartition Disks

Creating a Windows 11 system image backup safely is essential to ensure your data's protection without complications. Although built-in methods exist, they can be daunting due to their complexity. Incorrect execution may result in data loss. Hence, understanding a safe and reliable approach is crucial. Let's explore simple yet effective methods to create a Windows system image backup in Windows 11 without risking your data.

Create System Image Backup in Windows 11 by AOMEI Backupper

Although the built-in tool is convenient, it also has some shortcomings.

  • It doesn’t support differential backup.
  • It only allows you to restore the entire system, you cannot restore a single file from the image.
  • You can’t restore an image created on a larger hard disk to a smaller SSD.

To enhance data security, users should seek more reliable backup software options. AOMEI Backupper Standard emerges as a recommended choice for its robust features and ease of use. Some notable advantages of AOMEI Backupper Standard include its user-friendly interface, efficient backup and restore capabilities, comprehensive system image backup creation for Windows 11/10/8/7, etc, and reliable data protection. With these features, users can safeguard their data effectively and minimize the risk of data loss.

4 backup solutions: It supports 4 backup solutions, namely, file backup, system backup, disk backup, and partition backup. Thus, you can back up any items you want.
Schedule backup: It supports scheduled backup at a fixed interval, including Daily, Weekly, and Monthly.
Incremental backup and Differential backup: AOMEI Backupper supports backing up only changed files with incremental or differential backup methods, which can greatly save your backup time and disk space, especially when you create a scheduled backup for your computer.
Multiple operating systems: It has great compatibility with the operating system (Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, 11, XP, Vista, etc.) and storage devices (USB, HDD, SSD, NAS, cloud service, etc).    

The following is a step-by-step tutorial on how to use this software to create a system image backup in Windows 11 and restore it:

Step 1. Download AOMEI Backupper Standard Edition and launch the software. You can click “Backup” on the left side of the main page of the software, and then select “System Backup”.

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

System Backup

Step 2. Select a destination like a local disk, external hard drive, USB, cloud drive, NAS, etc.

Select Destination

Step 3. Click “Start Backup” to backup Windows 11 operating system.

Options: You can enable email notification, choose the compression level for the system backup and select splitting ways you want, etc.
Schedule: You can set your system image backup to Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event trigger, and USB plug-in. If your system becomes corrupted and unusable, you are able to restore the backup and make your computer boot normally.
Scheme: You can choose different backup methods. If you upgrade now to the Pro version, you can enable the automatic backup cleanup feature, which can help you save disk space by deleting older backups.

Restore System Image in Windows 11 with AOMEI Backupper

System image backup is very useful to get your computer back when there is a problem with it. Now let’s fast forward to this situation. You can restore the system to a usable state according to the following steps.

Step 1. Connect the disk containing the system backup to your computer. Click “Restore”, and then click “Select Image File”.

Select Image File

Step 2. Find the system image backup on the backup drive at first. choose it and click Open. It will switch to the Image Information page.

Step 3. Choose Restore this system backup, then click Next.

Restore Entire Backup Or Partition

Step 4. Select a destination partition to restore the image and click Next.

Select Destination

Step 5. Confirm the operation and click Start Restore for system recovery.   

Preview Restore

SSD Alignment: If the target disk you want to restore is an SSD, then remember to tick the SSD Alignment option. It can improve its read and write speed and lifespan.
Universal RestoreIf you want to restore the backed-up system to another computer, you can tick the option Universal Restore, which can help you solve the compatibility problem between different computers.

If your Windows computer won't boot, you need to boot your computer with the bootable disk you created earlier. If you don't have a bootable USB/CD/DVD etc, don't worry, you can create a recovery environment on your computer in advance. It will help you to boot your computer successfully without device and enter the software interface. You can upgrade to the Professional version to enjoy this feature.

Recovery Environment

FAQs about Windows 11/10 system image backup

1. Which is better, cloning or imaging a hard drive?

Both methods have their pros and cons. Cloning is great for quick recovery, while imaging offers more backup options. However, using incremental backups is smart because it saves space by storing multiple snapshots.

2. Should I delete my Windows image backup?

If you don't plan to use it, deleting the "WindowsImageBackup" folder can free up hard drive space. But if you think you might need to restore your system later, it's wise to keep the backup folder.

3. How often should I do a system image backup?

It's a good idea to start with a full backup, then do daily incremental backups for data (excluding programs). After installing new programs, do another full backup. Weekly full backups are recommended thereafter.


Through this article, I believe you have understood how to create a system image backup in Windows 11 in two easy ways. Both built-in tools and third-party software- AOMEI Backupper are available. I truly recommend the second way, because it is not only backs up and restores your system easily, but also backup files, partitions, etc. You can choose more functions according to your needs as well such as scheduled backup, different backup schemes (advanced version), etc.

In addition, if you prefer a more convenient solution to copy your system, you can choose the “Clone” feature. It allows you to clone the system partition and then directly boot from it without restoring the image first. To enjoy them, please download the software and try it yourself now!

Clytze · Editor
Clytze, an editor at AOMEI Technology, is passionate about safeguarding your digital world. She dedicates her expertise to empower users like you in data security and recovery. She firmly believes that everyone should have the tools and knowledge to protect their digital assets through computer backup, seamless disk cloning, and efficient file synchronization. Clytze is your trusted guide on the journey to data safety.