How to Backup External Hard Drive (Before Formatting)

If you need to backup data on your external hard drive, read this page to get the easiest external hard drive backup software to help you.


by Lily Updated on October 30, 2023

Share this: instagram reddit

Why should you backup external hard drive?

External hard drive is a kind of storage device which is separated from your machine. For some reasons, you may make use of external hard drive to store data:

  • There is not enough space on your internal hard drive to store data, and you decide to store the files on an external hard drive.
  • You want to store data on an external hard drive so that you can bring it everywhere. External hard drive is portable, and because of this, you can bring data on it everywhere and use it by plugging it into the machine. It is more convenient than bringing a computer or laptop.

Although external hard drive has so many sparking points, it faces a series of problems. It is tiny and portable, so it is easy to be stolen or lost; it may be broken in seconds due to the repeating “plug in” and “pull out” on different computers. Once the external hard drive gets in trouble, the data may disappear permanently. Thus, you should backup external hard drive.

What else, you may want to change the usage of your external hard drive by formatting it. How to keep the data safe? Backing up external hard drive before formatting is the answer.

External Hard Drive

Easiest external hard drive backup software - AOMEI Backupper

For storing the backup images, you have many choices, such as the internal hard drive of your computer or another external hard drive. The problem is how to backup external hard drive. To solve the problem, here we highly recommend a free backup software AOMEI Backupper, which can help you backup external hard drive with a few steps.

★ It offers you full backup solutions, including system backup, disk backup, partition backup, file backup, and cloud backup. You are also allowed to backup Yahoo Mail to computer if you upgrade to higher editions.
★ It is embedded with the Schedule Backup feature. You can automatically backup external hard drive with the Daily/Weekly/Monthly mode.
★ It supports various backup storage devices, such as internal hard drive, another external hard drive, a USB flash drive or an SSD, etc.

How to backup external hard drive in Windows 11/10/8/7

Before you do, you need to prepare:

  • The external hard drive you want to backup.
  • The storage device. Ensure it has enough space to store the image file of the external hard drive.
  • Download free AOMEI Backupper using the download button below. Then, install it on your PC or laptop.
Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Let's say you choose another external hard drive as the backup destination. Learn how to backup external hard drive to another external hard drive as follows.

Step 1. Connect the two external hard drives to your computer. Launch the program, and click Backup -> Disk Backup.

Disk Backup

Step 2. You will move to the Disk Backup page. You can edit the task name to distinguish it from other backups. Then, you need to select the source disk and the destination path.

Add Disk

Step 3. Click Start Backup to launch the progress. When it’s done, click Finish to exit.

Start Backup

Helpful notes:

👉 If your storage device is small, you can change the backup image compression level to High in "Options".


👉 You can do a schedule backup, but the external hard drive should not be extracted while backing up. You can set it up in "Schedule Backup".

Configure Schedule

👉 If you want an easier way to create an image of your external HDD/SSD, you could try the Disk Clone feature.

Disk Clone


This is about how to backup external hard drive by using AOMEI Backupper. Seriously, it should be the best way to backup external hard drive. You can use it free in Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10/11. Hope this could be helpful. 

Actually, AOMEI Backupper can do many other things for you to keep your data safe, for example, transfer files from one computer to another and create system image backup. But if you need more features like merging backup images or creating recovery environment, you need to upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional, which can be a better data protector than the Standard edition.

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.