[3 Ways] Backup Partition to Image File in Windows 11/10/8/7

How to backup partition to image file in case of recovery needs? In Windows 11/10/8/7, you can use Backup and Restore to set up backup. If you find it complicated or the backup failed, here are easier and more secure alternatives.


by Delia Updated on December 14, 2023

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What is a partition image

A partition image is more than a copy of all the actual files and folders in the partition, it’s a complete archival which contains all the data and necessary information, even those hidden files, system files, master boot record (MBR) and file allocation table (FAT) that cannot be copied manually.

Compared to an intact copy, an image file is compressed, taking up less storage space. You can use some specialized imaging tools to backup partition to image file in case of recovery needs. And to restore a partition image, the data stored in the image file will be overwritten to the target partition, which can be used either in data recovery scenario or partition migration.

How do I backup partition to image?

Here I will introduce 3 free methods in Windows to backup partition into an image file:

👉 Method 1. Backup partitions/OS/disk to image file with AOMEI Backupper
👉 Method 2. Backup partitions to image file using AOMEI Cyber Backup
👉 Method 3. Backup partitions to image file via Backup and Restore

partition image

1. Backup partitions/OS/disk to image file with AOMEI Backupper

To create recoverable image files of PC data, there are many specialist backup software can help, the one I recommend here is AOMEI Backupper Standard, the comprehensive and easy-to-use freeware.

It works on all Windows OS (Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista) and enables you to image backup files & folders, partitions, operating system and disk with very simple operation.
It supports complete backup features, allowing you to back up files & folders, partitions, operating system or the entire hard drive to image file.
It offers advanced options in conjunction with the basic backup and restore functions. You can enjoy incremental and differential backup that save only changed files, schedule backup on regular basis, change compression level, split image file, etc.
With the concise interface, you can achieve any operation within several clicks.

Download the tool to have a try:

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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▶ How to backup partition to image with AOMEI Backupper?

1. Select Backup on the left sidebar and choose Partition Backup to backup partition(s) to an image file. You can also use Disk Backup to create an image of all the partitions on the disk.

You can backup C drive via Partition Backup, but to ensure the system can boot after restoring, it’s recommended to backup system partition to image via System Backup.

partition backup

2. Click Add Partition or Volume to select the partition(s) you want to backup. Then specify a destination with sufficient space to save the image file.

add partition

3. Manage Options, Schedule and Scheme as you like, then click Start Backup to create the image of the partition.

Options: Auxiliary functions like backup mode, image compression, splitting, encryption, email notification, etc.
Schedule: Set up automatic backup on basis of Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Event triggers, USB plug in. The last two are available in Professional edition.
Scheme (advanced editions only): Create a backup scheme to delete older backups automatically.

start backup

▶ How to restore partition image?

Find the backup task in Home tab, expand the menu and choose to restore it. Alternatively, you can navigate to Restore tab, choose Select Task or Select Image File to locate the partition image for further recovery.

restore partition image

▶ Other features you may need:

  • Backup dynamic volumes (advanced editions only): You can backup dynamic volumes via Partition Backup and System Backup. The entire dynamic disk backup is not supported.
  • Restore system partition to another PC (advanced editions only): You are allowed to create a system image via System Backup and restore it to another computer with different hardware by ticking Universal Restore.
  • View and restore specific files from an image: With the Explorer Image tool, you can mount an image file to a virtual drive, and then view the backed up data and copy specific files as you like.

2. Backup partitions to image file using AOMEI Cyber Backup

The best enterprise backup software - AOMEI Cyber Backup provides a convenient and reliable solution for centralized backup management of all Windows operating systems.

◾ It enables you to create system/disk/partition backup for a bunch of Windows PCs, supporting Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7.
◾ You are allowed to save backup images on a local disk, external hard drive, network share or NAS device, etc.
◾ You can schedule a backup task to run daily/weekly/monthly using the full/incremental/differential backup method.
◾ It also allows you to backup VMware, Hyper-V and SQL databases.

Download AOMEI Cyber Backup now to try it out!

Download FreewareEasiest Enterprise Backup Software
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To backup partitions on client PC, follow these steps:

1. Log in AOMEI Cyber Backup. Then, click Source Device Windows Add Windows Device to add the Windows device that you want to backup.

Add Windows Device

2. Click Backup Task on the left menu bar and select Backup Task Create New Task.

Create New Task

3. Choose Partition Backup as the Backup Type.

Select Backup Type

4. Configure backup destination, schedule and other details. Then click Start Backup to run the task.

🌟 Notice:

If you don’t know how to choose between AOMEI Backupper and AOMEI Cyber Backup, check the comparison table on page Windows PC Backup.

3. Backup partitions to image file via Backup and Restore

There’s a built-in utility that has been integrated since Windows 7 and inherited by Windows 8, Windows 10. You can find it under the name of Backup and Restore (Windows 7) in recent OS, and use it to back up folders, libraries as well as partitions to image file. If you want to backup all the system drivers, you can also create a system image.

Next I will give an example to backup partition in Windows 10.

▶ How to create partition image via Backup and Restore?

1. Click Start > Settings > Update & Security > Backup > Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7). You can also search for “backup settings” to access the feature directly.

2. Click Set up backup. If you’ve created backups before, you need to click Change settings instead.

set up backup

3. Select where to save the backup. You can choose internal/external hard drive or network location. Note the destination drive must be formatted to NTFS.

select destination

4. Select what to backup. You can click Let me choose, and specify the source data on the next page manually. Here let’s tick the partition(s) as an example. You can also include a system image in this backup.

choose backup drives

5. If you want to image backup partitions regularly, click Change schedule and tick the “Run backup on a schedule” option to further set the frequency and specific time points for the backup.

change schedule

6. Confirm the operation, tap Save the settings and run backup to execute the task. Then the partition image will be created at the specified destination.

run backup

▶ How to restore from the partition image?

Click Restore my files at the bottom, then browse for files or folders to backup. Optionally, you can select another backup to restore files from, this also applies to restore Windows 7 backup on Windows 10.

restore my files

▶ Backup and Restore failed?

Windows is a complex operating system, Backup and Restore is just one of the built-in tools that has its own shortcomings, such as cumbersome operation, slow running, and various possible errors during the process. Besides, its kernel is basically the same as it was in Windows 7, which may be more and more problematic as Windows updated.

If you have problem using it, you could try troubleshooting it (please refer to Windows 10 backup failed), or turn to a simpler yet more reliable backup solution as following.


If you want to backup partitions to image files in Windows 11/10/8/7, Windows Backup and Restore may be an answer, but not the most convenient one. AOMEI Backupper and AOMEI Cyber Backup provide you with simpler operation, stronger functionality and higher success rate. You can easily image system or non-system partitions as you like.

Moreover, AOMEI Backupper offers disk clone option. If you want to transfer C drive to SSD or clone hard drive to another hard drive, you can directly use it for OS and data migration. For Windows Server users, there’s also a Server edition with all these powerful features.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.