By Teresa / Last Updated February 4, 2020

Why copy Windows operating system (OS) to USB drive?

At the age of electronic information, the importance of data in computers is self-evident. The good news is more and more computer users attach importance to backup. One can easily bring the computer back to life using the backup image when disaster comes. USB flash drive is not only good transporting tool but also great storage device. Therefore, to copy OS to flash drive definitely is a good way to protect the computer.

In addition, when restoring one computer system image to another computer via USB, you need to copy operating system to flash drive, more likely backup system drive to USB drive, and then restore from that drive.

What’s more, USB stick is famous for flexibility. Transfer OS to USB drive allows you to carry the system with you all the time. Plug it in any computer will bring you the familiar operating system as well as pleasing personal settings. This can be realized in Windows 10 and 8 via Windows To Go Creator feature in AOMEI Partition Assistant. Many other aspects may result to this copying system outcome as well.

To sum up, whatever leads you to copy Windows 10/8/7 operating system to flash drive, it is better to acknowledge how to achieve that.

Transfer Windows OS to USB flash with built-in tools?

Windows brings its built-in system backup utilities for computer users. They are Backup and Restore in Windows 7, Windows 7 File Recovery in Windows 8, and Windows 7 Backup and Restore in Windows 10. File History in Windows 8 and 10 is used to backup and restore files mostly.

Nevertheless, when you select a USB flash drive as the destination storage for system image using these utilities, a warning says “The drive is not a valid backup location” will come into your sight and stop you from backing system up there.


A possible explanation for this is Windows find placing system image on USB drive is unsafe since the day Windows be created, because USB drives at that times are quite small. Of course, that won’t be an issue nowadays but store system image to large USB drive is important. It has to be larger than 8 GB of capacity. In that case, you can turn to another way.

Another way to copy Windows 10/8/7 to flash drive

Turn to third-party software is also an outlet sometimes when built-in tools cannot satisfy us. AOMEI Backupper Professional is reliable backup and recovery solution for Windows-based computers such as Windows 10, 8, 8.1, 7, Vista and Windows XP. It makes backup OS to USB drive as easy as backup to other hard drives.

This solution supports almost all removable USB drive (USB 1.0/2.0/3.0), thumb drive, pen drive etc. Backup for once or for long run depends on your requirements. Its incremental backup and differential backup will save much USB space for you. Download the free trial and give it shot.

How to copy operating system to USB flash drive step by step?

1. Connect the USB drive to computer. Install and launch AOMEI Backupper. Click System Backup under Backup tab.

System Backup

2. Select the USB flash drive that you want to copy operating system to. No need to manually choose system drive. AOMEI Backupper takes care of that.

Select Backup Destination

Select Usb Device

3. There are three options in the lower-left corner provided for customized configuration. Click Start Backup on completion.

Start Backup


  • Options: This offers password protect backup image, compression and split backup images options.

  • Schedule: Change backup type between full backup, incremental backup and differential backup, and set daily, weekly, or monthly mode here.

  • Scheme: This helps you auto delete old backups when backup image amount overpass the value you set.


AOMEI Backupper strives to make difficult issues effective and easy. The event that copy operating system to flash drive cannot be completed using Windows tools is possible achieved via AOMEI Backupper. If necessary, restore system from USB drive to save your PC. After copying, you can do what you want with that USB drive, for example copy this USB drive to another. Other than copying OS to USB, you are able to backup files to OneDrive Cloud with this software as well.

If you want to protect unlimited computers within your company, you can pick AOMEI Backupper Technician. With the inbuilt AOMEI Image Deploy tool, you are also allowed to deploy/restore system image file on server-side computer to multiple client-side computers over network.