By Ivy / Last update June 23, 2021

What is sector by sector backup?

Sector by sector backup is also called make an exact copy. With this feature, you can create an image of all sectors on the selected partition or disk. This image will contain not only sectors with data but also sectors that are empty. The working process of it is much the same as sector by sector clone.

Sector by sector mode vs. intelligent sector mode

Intelligent sector mode only back up the used sectors of file systems, and this will reduce the size of the image file and backup time. You can even backup to a disk that is smaller than source disk.

Sector by sector mode will backup all sectors of disks or partitions whether used or not. As a result, this image will be almost the same size of the disk being imaged. Meanwhile, the whole process may take much more time than intelligent sector mode.

Generally speaking, intelligent sector mode is widely used for its flexibility and time-saving. Some people may ask why use sector by sector backup.

If you want to backup some hidden data and deleted files, it is recommended to use sector by sector mode. When there is bad sector or corrupt file, it is a wise decision to use sector by sector mode. Also, it is the least of worries if you are trying to recover from a crash.

How to make a sector by sector backup?

Usually, Windows built-in tool backup the used sector of the file system, to backup disk with sector by sector mode, you need a professional tool with this function, such as AOMEI Backupper Standard. It is one of the best backup and restore software. The best part is that it is free and easy to use.

Let’s see how to create a backup with sector by sector mode using AOMEI Backupper. Take disk backup as an example.

Step 1. Download and install AOMEI Backupper and open the software. At the main interface, select backup and the disk backup.

Step 2. Select the disk you need to backup by clicking Add Disk and select another location as the destination path.

Add Disk

Step 3. At the bottle of the interface, click backup option, Then intelligent sector. There are two options: Intelligent Sector Backup and Make an Exact Backup. By default, AOMEI Backupper will choose Intelligent Sector Backup. Choose Make an Exact Backup and hit OK.

Tip: Your destination partition or disk size must be equal to or larger than the source one. If your destination disk is smaller than the source one, intelligent backup is suggested.

Backup Mode

Note: There are also some other backup settings you can set up. Click General to set backup encryption and enable email notification.

Sector by sector restore

If you backed up your disks or partitions in sector-by-sector mode, you can subsequently restore them in sector-by-sector mode. Also, you may need to do a sector-by-sector restore of a disk backup if it has a file system that was corrupted before the backup was made.

When restoring in sector-by-sector mode, the program will copy all used and unused sectors to the destination disks or partitions. In a non-sector-by-sector restore, only used sectors will be restored, and unused sectors will be ignored.

Before performing restore, it is better to use check image utility to tests the data integrity of the backup image to ensure you would successfully be able to restore data.

To restore with sector by sector mode, choose a backup image and destination disk you want to restore on. When all this done, at the bottle of operation summary, tick sector by sector restore.

Sector By Sector Restore

If you have a backup of a disk with the corrupted file system, after running sector-by-sector restore, you may need to run checkdisk with the repair option to fix the file system corruption.

Go to the Command Prompt (Start-Run -> cmd): Enter the command: chkdsk DISK: /r


With AOMEI Backupper, you can easily create a sector by sector backup. Also, it has many powerful features embedded. For example, it allows you to do incremental and differential backup to save disk space. With Universal Restore feature, you can even restore to another computer.

It is not only a backup and restore software, but also a fantastic disk clone software. The clone feature also has two options, you can clone with intelligent mode and sector by sector mode. With disk clone feature, you can to migrate HDD to SSD with a few clicks.

All in all, AOMEI Backupper is a comprehensive clone, backup and restore software which can satisfy most users’ needs.