By Ivy / Last update March 14, 2022

Can't create system image on USB drive

"I’m planning to use my HP 4GB USB flash drive to backup Windows 7. But I tried it without a success. I can’t save the backups to my USB drive, it says, ""the drive is not a valid backup location, why? I just want to backup system to USB flash drive and restore my computer in the future just in case. Does anyone have a solution to this issue, Thanks a lot."

The Drive Is Not A Valid Backup Location

For the disk is not a valid backup location issue, there are 3 main causes in the following:

  • The drive is not formatted with NTFS file system.
  • The drive does not have enough space to store system image.
  • Microsoft does not recognized USB flash drive as a hard drive. 

If your drive is formatted with NTFS file system and has enough space, the cause may be the last one. And you can choose to set it as a network drive and then backup Windows 10 to it. For detailed steps, you can check my previous article: create a system image not working for USB drive.

Besides, if you want an easier way to perform Windows backup to USB drive, try third-party backup software that supports doing so. And I'll introdue you such software and how to use it step by step.

Best software to create Windows 10 image to USB flash drive

AOMEI Backupper Standard as the best free Windows backup software for Windows 10 and other systems, which is capable of backing up Windows operating system (OS), programs, user documents, and other content on the system partition to USB flash drive. And you can enjoy the following advantages: 

Backup system to USB drive automatically: It supports daily, weekly, monthly schedule backup and any devices recognized by Windows, USB flash drive, for example, thus you can schedule backup system to it.
Backup only changed files: It uses Incremental Backup as default backup method, which backup only changed files, thereby greatly reducing the size of backup image and disk space you will use. And usually, it's used with Schedule Backup option.
Other useful features: You can create a bootable USB with this software in case your computer fails. It is able to boot computer from it and then restore system image to new hard drive to get your computer back quickly.

Besides, AOMEI Backupper is highly recommended by users due to its intuitive interface and comprehensive features. Please download and install it on your computer! Then, connect your USB drive to the computer and ensure it can be detected.

Download FreewareWin 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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(PS: AOMEI Backupper Standard works in Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10/11. To perform Windows Server backup to USB flash drive, try AOMEI Backupper Server. You can enjoy 70$ off for one server.)

How to do Windows 10 backup to USB flash drive easily

1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Standard. In the Home window, select Backup tab, then choose System Backup.

System Backup

2. Input a proper name in Task Name box to distinguish other backups and select the USB drive to save the system image.

Select USB Drive

★Tips:
✍AOMEI Backupper Standard will detect the system partition associated with system files automatically. You don’t have to select manually.
✍You can also backup system to SSD drive, NAS device, network share, CD/DVD, clouds, etc.

4. Click Start Backup to do Windows backup to USB flash drive.

There are three options you can choose (it's optional):
Options: You can encrypt, split, compress, and enable Email notification, etc.
Schedule Backup: You can create system backup daily, weekly, monthly, event triggers, or USB plug in (to backup computer to USB flash drive automatically when it's plugged in). The last two premium features are on the professional version
Backup Scheme: You can set backup method - full/incremental/differential backup or delete old backup images automatically with By quantity, By time and By daily/weekly/monthly cleanup methods. Except for full backup and incremental backup, other features require a professional version at least.

Incremental or Differential Backup

After a moment, Windows 10 backup to USB flash drive has been successfully. Save it to a safe location and then you can use it to restore computer to an earlier date easily. 

Also, this software still applies to Windows 7 backup image to USB flash drive, and other systems, such as, Windows 8, Windows 11, etc.

Summary

You can easily perform Windows 10 backup to USB flash drive as long as you use a software that supports doing so. AOMEI Backupper Standard is a great choice and you can even backup system automatically in daily, weekly, monthly. And you can enjoy more premium features on the professional version. For example, you can choose to backup system with USB plug in feature. It's able to backup system to USB drive automatically when detected. 

In addition, AOMEI Backupper Professional allows you to clone OS to SSD drive, sync files to other locations, restore system to dissimilar hardware restore, merge backup images, command line backup, and many more. Download it and explore yourself.