By Bryce / Last Updated April 4, 2019


“After realizing that there are chances to encounter hard drive failure, system crash or other events during the usage of computer, I decide to backup my Dell desktop to external hard drive in case of issues aforementioned. It is with 500GB HDD and running Windows 10. But I have no idea about how to backup desktop to external hard drive. Is there any idea?”

Backup desktop to external hard drive via Windows built-in tool

In Windows 10, you can use Windows built-in function to backup files on your desktop or laptop. Detailed steps are given below:

1. Connect an external hard drive with enough capacity to your desktop.

PS.: If it is an unallocated disk, you should create partition on it and assign partition with drive letter, so that it can save data.

2. Open Control Panel and go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7) under System and Security > Set up backup.

Set up Backup

3. Choose the external drive as backup destination and click Next.

Save Backup on

4. It will ask you what you want to back up; you can choose one based on your demand (here Let Windows choose is selected.).

Note: If you just want to backup files saved in libraries, on the desktop, in default Windows folders, choose the first option; if you want to backup specific files or folders, choose second one.

Let Windows Choose

5. Here you can see what will be backed up. The default backup schedule is Every Sunday at 7:00PM. If you have no plan to change the schedule, click Save settings and run backup to execute the backup.

Save Settings

When your files is damaged or lost, you can open Backup and Restore and click Restore My Files or Restore all Users’ Files to restore files.

PS.: When old backups occupy much disk space, you can delete some unnecessary backups to free up disk space.

Backup desktop to external hard drive via 3rd party backup software

It’s acceptable to backup desktop or laptop files to external hard drive viaBackup and Restore (Windows 7)function. However, it doesn’t support differential backup and may fail to encrypt and compress backup images.

Here introduce you third party all-round and great backup software – AOMEI Backupper Professional, supporting full, incremental and differential backup with schedule and allowing you to password encrypt backup image. Now, have a look at how to backup desktop to external hard drive via it.

Step 1. Connect an external hard drive to your desktop and make sure it can be detected. Install and run AOMEI Backupper Professional. In the main console, choose Disk Backup under Backup.

Backup Desktop Disk to Extenrnal Hard Drive

Step 2. Choose your source disk (here is Disk 0) and select external hard drive (here is Drive H) as destination path.

Select Souce Disk

Choose Target Path

Step 3. You can perform personal settings with Backup Options, Schedule and Scheme.

  • Backup options: allows you to encrypt, compress and split backup image during backup process.

  • Schedule: allows you to backup disk daily, weekly, monthly, event-trigger or real-time sync; offers three ways to backup: Full Backup, Incremental Backup and Differential Backup.

  • Scheme: enables you to manage disk space.

Step 4. Then, click Startup Backup icon.



  • When the backup is completed, you can create a bootable media via AOMEI Backupper. Thus you can boot computer form the created bootable device and restore disk if system crashes.

  • AOMEI Backupper Professional is compatible with Windows 7/8/8.1/10, XP and Vista; for Windows Server user, you can employ AOMEI Backupper Server.

Final Words

Now, surely you have realized how to backup desktop to external hard drive. There is no doubt that Windows Backup and Restore function is helpful in backing up PC files automatically and regularly. But AOMEI Backupper will be my preference due to it can satisfy my advanced backup demands. In fact, it is far more than backup software; it also allows you to clone disk to disk, clone partition and etc.