By Ivy / Last update December 13, 2021

Overview of ISO image

As we all know, it is very important to create disk backup to protect your whole computer. If there is some disaster happens to your computer, you can restore it to the previous state easily. If the backup is ISO image format, you can restore or employ it on other devices easier.

The ISO image itself is bootable. When your computer cannot boot or have boot issues, you can use it to boot your PC and restore it. Also, you can use it to deploy on another computer.

How to create an ISO image of my hard drive with DISM tool

DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) is a feature includes in Windows 10/11, which allows you to capture Windows image under recovery environment. You can use the DISM tool to create ISO image (.wim) of hard drive in Windows 10/11 for deployment. To use it, you need a Windows 10 recovery media or installation disk. 

The following guide will show you how to create hard drive to ISO image in Windows 10/11.

STEP 1. Determine which partitions to capture

To capture Windows 10 disk image, first, you should determine which partitions to capture. You do not have to capture Microsoft Reserved partition and extended partition because they are managed automatically.

STEP 2. Assign drive letters to partitions

If the partition you want to capture does not have a drive letter assigned, assign a drive letter first.

1. Boot your PC from the recovery media or installation media. At the Windows PE command prompt, type “diskpart” to open diskpart tool.

2. Type “list disk” to view the disk in your computer.

3. Then choose the disk by typing the command “select disk”. For example select disk 0.

4. Type “list partition” to view the partitions on the selected disk.

5. Select the partition with the select partition command. For example, if you want to assign the drive to partition 2, the command should be “select partition=2”.

6. Assign the drive letter to the partition with “assign letter”. For example “assign letter=S”. Then type “exit” to return to Windows PE command prompt.

Assign Letter

STEP 3. Capture partition image

To create ISO image for Windows 1 using DISM, at the Windows PE command prompt, type the following command:

Dism /Capture-Image /ImageFile:s:\my-system-partition.wim /CaptureDir:S:\ /Name:"My system partition"

DISM Capture

DISM command can be also used to create an ISO image from your operating system.

To make it as bootable ISO image, open Windows 10 installation disc in File Explorer. Copy its contents and paste to a folder on your external hard drive or Network. Copy the image create before to the source folder and replace the original one.

Then download and install the latest Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit and install Deployment Tools. Then run the following command:

oscdimg.exe -m -o -u2 -udfver102 -bootdata:2#p0,e,b[path of the iso files]\boot\ F,e,b[path of the iso-files]\efi\microsoft\boot\efisys.bin [path of the iso-files][new location to save the iso image of the current windows]

ISO image vs. image backup

As above-mentioned, an ISO image itself is bootable, and it can be used to boot your computer as well as restore it. However, you cannot compress an ISO image, it will take you much space. Also, it is really troublesome to create an ISO image. 

While an image backup can be created very easily and can be compressed to save backup space. Besides, an image backup can be also used to restore your computer when needed.

Create hard drive image backup with AOMEI Backupper

For regular users, Windows built-in tool is enough to create image backup. However, if you want to have a more flexible and advanced way to create image backup, you can use AOMEI Backupper.

AOMEI Backupper supports not only NTFS volumes, but also FAT, EXT volume. An incremental and differential backup, missing features of Windows backup tool, can be created easily with AOMEI Backupper. Also, you can have multiple schedules instead of only one. 

And this is very useful if you want to upgrade to Windows 11 without losing files. It will keep an exact copy of your original hard drive and you can use it to restore your files if you find that some of your files were lost during the installation. Also, you can use it to recover your computer if you don't like it or want to go back to Windows 10 or previous version.

What’s more, the utility Create Bootable Media allows you to boot your computer when you have boot issues. 

To create image backup for your hard drive, follow the steps below:

Step 1. Download and open AOMEI Backupper. At the main interface, select Disk Backup under Backup tab.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Disk Backup

Step 2. You can name it for "Task Name" box to help you distinguish it from other backups. Select source disks that you want to back up and you can add several disks to be backed up via Disk Backup each time. Then select a destination path to store image file.

Select Destination

Step 3. To backup disk automatically, you can click Schedule to set it up.

Schedule Settings

Tip: You can also click Options to enable image compression and email notification.

Step 4. Click the Start Backup button and wait for the process to complete.

Create ISO image of hard drive with AOMEI Backupper

As covered before, this free backup software AOMEI Backupper Standard can also help you to create an ISO image file. In addition, it allows you to create bootable disc (CD/DVD), and add drivers when necessary. 

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Standard. Click Tools and then Create Bootable Media.

Create Bootable Media

Step 2. Select the bootable disk type (Linux or WinPE). Here would take creating WinPE ISO for example.

Windows Bootable Disc

Step 3. Choose the WinPE boot mode (legacy or UEFI). If your boot disk is GPT partition style, choose UEFI, otherwise, choose the other one.

UEFI Boot Mode

Tip: By default, this program will create an ISO image file based on your current Windows environment. If you want to create an ISO image file with factory environment, please check the option "Download WinPE creating environment from Internet".

Step 4. Select Export ISO File option at this step, and choose a path to store the ISO file. You are allowed to add drivers here. Then, click Next and it will start the process.

Export ISO File


  • In the event of system unbootable, you can use it to boot all versions of Windows 11/10/8/7 to restore your PC.

  • If you want to burn the ISO to CD, please refer to how to burn ISO file to disc.


Now you have learned how to create ISO image of hard drive with DISM command in Windows 10, but it is not easy to create one. If you use AOMEI Backupper, you can set up a scheduled backup and it will automatically keep your image backup up to date. 

Besides, AOMEI Backupper owns the “clone“ feature that enables you to perform disk clone in Windows 10/8/7 easily. And it also applies to the latest Windows 11. Don't hesitate to try it out!