System Backup vs Disk Backup: Which One should You Use?

System Backup is a type of backup aiming at imaging system partitions and other system-related partitions (such as system reserved partition and boot partition), including system files, boot files and data on these partitions.

System Backup is different from partition backup and disk backup. Partition Backup is used to back up data partitions you select, you can select D:drive, E:drive, F:drive to be backed up, etc; Disk Backup is to back up all partitions on a specific disk, including all data on that disk.

For instance, there are 3 partitions on the disk: C: (system), D: (Data) and E: (Data). If you run a "system backup", only C:drive will be backed up as usual. If you run a disk backup, all partitions, including C: , D: and E: will be backed up.

If you would like to back up and recover the whole system disk containing system, installed software, games, applications as well as personal files, the disk backup is suggested.

It is also recommended to regularly run a system backup in case of a system crash. Then you can restore your system with the system backup image.

Create System Image Backup in Windows 10 step by step

AOMEI Backupper provides you with a quick system solution. If you need to do a system backup, this option allows you to back up system drive completely, including system files, boot files, etc. Please prepare a new hard drive or SSD as destination and download the freeware to have a try right now!

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Here are the detailed steps about how to back up the system:

1. In the left tab page, select Backup and then select System Backup.

System Backup

2. You can rename the backup using the "Task Name" field to distinguish it from other backups and you can see the partitions included as part of the system backup are displayed automatically. Select a destination path to backup system to.

System Backup Location

3. Click Start Backup to start the system backup task. 

Start Backup

Besides, you can still set some useful features with the following 3 options:

Options: You can enable compression level, intelligent sector backup, VSS  backup service, splitting, etc.
Schedule Backup: You can set a fixed backup interval for your system backup task, such as, Daily, Weekly, Monthly. Also, Event trigger and USB plug in are available in the professional version.
Backup Scheme (advanced version): You are allowed to backup system and only changes made later with Incremental or Differential Backup. And more flexible, it's able to automatically delete old backup images to free up disk space.

While a backup is running, you can click an icon in the lower-left corner to set to Shut down/Restart/Hibernate/Sleep PC after backup completion. And you can also click the underlined sentence to check the backup process in detail.

System Backup Shutdown

Then, please kindly wait for the backup process to complete and then click the "Finish" button. As a result, you can check there is a backup image (.adi) generated in the destination location.

System Backup Result

For more detailed guidance with screenshots, please refer to How to Do a System Backup.


1. If you would like to restore a system backup image, please use the feature "System Restore".

2. If you would like to view the contents of system backup without restoring a backup image or you would like to copy some files and folders in the backup image, you can use the feature "Explore Image" to mount the image.

  • As System Backup is a one-click solution, your system partition and system reserved partition will be selected as backup resource automatically in Step 1. If these partitions are not listed automatically, check whether this system drive is a 4096 bytes per sector disk. AOMEI Backupper doesn't support drives with 4096 bytes per sector at present.

  • If your system drive is a dynamic disk, then System Backup in the standard version is not supported.

  • System backup files created by dynamic disks are not supported to recover to dynamic disks. It can be recovered to the original location or a basic disk.

  • You can back up C: drive via Partition Backup but we suggest you back up it via System Backup. If you back up C: drive via Partition Backup, the system may not boot after the backup restore.

  • Generally, System Backup backs up "system" partition, "boot" partition (C: drive) and recovery partition but it won't back up OEM recovery partition.

  • For encrypted system partitions, Backupper uses the sector by sector method to back up the system by default.

  • Backupper supports backing up Windows systems only.