Content of this article:
What is EFI system partition?
EFI system partition (ESP) is a partition on a hard drive or solid-state drive of the (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) UEFI-based computer, and this partition contains bootloader, device driver files which will be used by firmware at boot time.
Do I need to backup EFI system partition?
EFI system partition contains the bootloader of the UEFI-based computer. When you start the computer, the UEFI firmware will load boot files saved on the ESP and then start the existing operating system. If the partition gets lost or the boot files are missing or corrupted, your computer will be unbootable.
Thus, it’s essential for you to backup EFI system partition. Once something unexpected happens, you can restore EFI system partition and make your computer work properly.
Way 1: Windows backup EFI system partition with Backup and Restore
Backup and Restore is a Windows built-in tool in Windows 7, which was also included in Windows 8 and Windows 10. It allows you to create a system image backup and this backup will contain all the system partition, including EFI system partition, system partition, etc.
Now, let's get started to backup system including the EFI system partition.
Step 1. Type Backup and Restore in the search box and select it from the start menu list.
Note: The entrance of this software may be a little difference in different system.
❤ For Windows 8/10, please type backup settings and then select Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7) in the next window.
❤ For Windows 11, go to Control Panel and select Backup and Restore (Windows 7) under the System and Security link.
Step 2. Click Create a system image.
Step 3. Specify where you want to save the backup and click Next.
Step 4. Then, you will see the backed up items, including (C:)(System) and EFI System Partition. Confirm the backup settings and click Start Backup to move on.
In general, this process will take dozens of minutes, which depends on how much data this partition has and the writting and reading speed of both disk.
Besides, you will receive EFI system partition backup error in the following:
1. Windows Backup failed to get an exclusive lock on the EFI system partition (ESP).
That means the files saved on ESP are occupied by another program. In this case, you need to disable security software, which protects the system files. If that does not work, you still can perform a clean boot.
2. There was a failure in preparing the backup image of one of the volumes in the backup set (0x807800C5).
In general, this error will come with additional information. When you create an EFI system backup, you may receive the specified backup disk cannot be found. This is because of the previous backup files. You just need to find and delete the WindowsImageBackup folder. If you want to save the previous backup, you can move it to a different location.
If you want to avoid the problem mentioned above, you can use a third-party free backup software like AOMEI Backupper Standard.
Way 2: Backup EFI system partition for Windows with AOMEI Backupper
Here you will use "System Backup" feature in AOMEI Backupper Standard to backup EFI system partition as well as system partition. And this process is automatic so as to greatly reduce human eror. At the same time, it offers you more useful features.
In addition, AOMEI Backupper still provides users more advanced features, such as, USB Plug in, Backup Scheme, etc. If needed, please upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional or other editions.
How to backup EFI system partition in Windows 7/8/10/11
Step 1. Download free backup software AOMEI Backupper and open it. Then, Click Backup > System Backup on the main page of AOMEI Backupper.
Step 2. Then, you will system partition and boot-related partition(s) are selected automatically. If your computer is UEFI-based, the EFI system partition will be selected by default.
Click the second box to select a backup path, you can backup to external hard drive, USB drive, cloud drive like Google Drive, etc.
Step 3. To ensure all the data including the changed files on the system partition will be there, you need to set scheduled backup settings. Click "Schedule" and select one or more settings. The default settings are daily incremental backup.
❤ If the backup time is during off-peak hours, please tick "Wake the computer to run scheduled tasks" to wake up your computer 2 minutes before the task starts.
❤ If your target drive is a USB drive, it's suggested to use the "USB plug in" feature. It will backup system to USB flash drive automatically when detected.
❤ If you want a safer schedule backup, differential backup will be a better choice than incremental backup. It requires a bit more backup time and disk space but have a easy and quick recovery.
Step 4. Back to the main page and click Start Backup.
When this process finishes, you will get a system backup image containing the operating system, EFI system partition, installed programs, personal data etc. Thus, you can restore system image from external hard drive at any time when the EFI system partition is lost or system crash.
Further reading: Fix backup failed because of EFI system partition
Sometimes, when the backup failed because of EFI system partition, you need to repair EFI bootloader. Then, how to repair it? Please the specific steps below.
Step 1. Boot your computer from installation media. If you don't have, you could create a recovery disk and then boot from it.
Step 2. In the Windows Setup window, click "Repair your computer". Then, select "Troubleshoot" > "Advanced Options" > "Command Prompt" in order.
Step 3. Type "diskpart" and hit "Enter" to open this command tool.
Step 4. Type the following commands to find the EFI system partition and verify if it's using FA32 file system. Then, set a drive letter for it.
- sel disk 0 (If there is one more disk, you need to type "list disk" to find the disk containing EFI system partition first.)
- list vol
- sel vol n (n refers to the number of the EFI system partition)
- assign letter=m (You can change m to any drive letter you want.)
Step 5. Type the following commands to repair boot record and hit "Enter".
- cd /d m:\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\
- bootrec /FixBoot
Step 6. Type "ren BCD BCD.old" to backup the old BCD file.
Step 7. Type "bcdboot c:\Windows /l en-us /s [boot letter]: All" to recreate EFI system partition. (The boot letter] is the drive letter of disk you are booting from. )
You ask I answer: About EFI system partition
Q: Is EFI and UEFI the same?
They are not exactly the same. UEFI is a new BIOS firmware interface and most UEFI systems still upport booting computer from Legacy BIOS. While for EFI, it's a partition used to store UEFI boot files.
Q: Does EFI partition have to be first?
There is no such restriction. But the first partition is indeed a good place, because it is unlikely to be affected by any repartion operation, such as, resize system partition.
Q: Is it safe to delete EFI System Partition?
The answer is NOT, EFI system partition contains boot files required to start Windows. If you delete it, your computer will fail to boot. Also, it will fail to generate an EFI partition and cause boot issues when you migrate OS.
Wrapping things up
It’s essential for you to backup EFI system partition that contains the boot files of your computer. If not, when this partition is deleted by mistake or lost, your computer will be unbootable. Anyway, you need a free backup software.
Both Windows built-in tool as well as a third-party backup software like AOMEI Backupper can help you backup EFI system partition and does not cost you a cent. But the built-in tool is error-prone, you may receive error like backup failed EFI system partition. Thus, if you want an easier way, AOMEI Backupper will be your choice.
It's one of the most useful backup software, believe me, just download it to have a try! Simple, strong compatibility, and feature-rich.