How to Backup Files to External Hard Drive in Windows 10

You will learn how to backup files to external hard drive in Windows 10 easily. Learn more about this below!


By Lily Updated on October 26, 2023

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Why backup files to external hard drive in Windows 10?

Windows 10 is one of the most popular operating systems and it's used worldwide, so many users want to backup files to external hard drive in Windows 10. 

The most important reason is to protect data from loss. On the one hand, you can make an exact copy of your files and then restore them if it's damaged or deleted by mistake. On the other hand, backing up files to external hard drive avoids computer failure due to system crash, ard drive breaking, etc

Besides, external hard drive is very convenient and portable for users to take them everywhere. Thus, users can use their files at any time as long as they connect the backup drive to a computer. 

Common ways to backup files to an external hard drive

No matter when we talk about file backup, many users may think about built-in tools first. Indeed, Microsoft provides users with 2 free backup software to backup files, such as, Backup and Restore (Windows 7), File History. But there are some differences in this software, you can check them in the following:

  Backup and restore (Windows 7) File History 
Backup items user files as well as system and data partition.  users files
Backup destination internal or external drive, network or NAS internal or external drive, network or NAS
Schedule backup daily, weekly, monthly backup backup from 10 minutes to daily, hourly by default
Backup method incremental backup incremental backup

Both of them seem to be a good idea to backup files to an external hard drive in Windows 10. But it only backup files in the "User" folder, if you want to backup other files, please add them to it. 

And you may run into all kinds of problems while using them, such as, file history drive disconnected, Windows 10 backup cannot add folder, file history doesn’t recognize this drive, system backup failed, cannot restore system image to smaller drive, etc. 

Besides, Backup and Restore (Windows 7) is not updated and maintained in Windows 10. And File History will also be deprecated in Windows 11 and its Add Folder option is missing. Thus, it's not suggested to use them. If you don't care them this, refer to backup files to external hard drive.

Then, how to backup files to external hard drive in Windows 10 if the built-in tools are not advisable. You can choose to use a reliable third-party backup software to backup files, AOMEI Backupper Standard, for example.

Best free backup software to backup files - AOMEI Backupper Standard

AOMEI Backupper Standard is a good backup software with rich features, so you can easily backup files to external hard drive in a few simple steps. Also, you can backup files to internal drive, cloud drive, network drive or NAS, etc. And either way, you can enjoy the following advantages:

Backup files in Windows 10 automatically: This software supports daily, weekly, monthly schedule backup, so you can backup files automatically without worring about data loss due to unexpected disaster or forgetting to backup files.
Backup only changed files: By default, this software use block-level incremental backup, which backup only changed block in files every  time. This saves you much backup time and disk space.
Other useful features: If you are worried that your computer may fail, you can choose to create a boootable USB or CD/DVD in advance.

And all the operations are based on an intuitive interface, so most users can understand and use it easily. Please download this software and install it on your computer.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

(PS: This software applies to Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista. For server users, try AOMEI Backupper Server.)

How to backup files to external hard drive in Windows 10 easily

Here you will use AOMEI Backupper Standard to backup files to external hard drive in Windows 10. Please connect external hard drive to your computer and be sure it's recognized. 

Step 1. Open AOMEI Backupper Standard on your Windows 10 computer. Then, click Backup->File Backup.

File Backup

Step 2. Here you are in the File Backup page. Click Add File or Add Folder to select the files you want to backup. 

Add File Folder

Note: You can also backup files with certain file extension automatically by enabling filter settings in the professional version.

Step 3. Then, select the external hard drive you plugged in before as the destination space to store the files on. 

Destination Place

Before clicking Start Backup, here you need to know about the three options:

  • Options: With which, you can add comment for your backup, enable Windows 10 backup notification, choose a compression for your backup, even splitting a large file into multiple smaller files while backing up.

AOMEI Email SMS Notification Settings

  • Schedule Backup: If you want to backup files to external hard drive automatically, you can click this option and set up an auto file backup for daily, weekly, monthly. Besides, you can use Event trigger and USB plug in feature if you upgrade to professional version.  

Schedule Settings General

  • Backup Scheme: By default, this software will backup files with Incremental Backup if you set a scheduled task. Also, you can use safer backup method - differential backup. For differences between them, see Incremental or Differential Backup. Bsides, you can delete old backup image automatically to free up space for new backups as long as you enable automatic backup cleanup feature. 

Backup Scheme Cleanup Methods

Step 4. After all settings are configured well, click Start Backup to launch the whole progress. When the task finished, click Finish to exit. 

Start Backup

With the help of AOMEI Backupper, backing up files to external hard drive in Windows 10 can be much easier. And then, you can restore files to get your data back quickly when you want. Besides, you can use it to backup disk in Windows 10, backup computer to external hard drive, etc.

★ How to backup files to AOMEI Cloud

There is a growing trend to backup files to cloud storage. Compared to an external hard drive, cloud is a safer place to keep your important files because it is less subject to getting lost or damaged. Create an AOMEI account and then you can backup files to AOMEI Cloud. You'll get 1TB free storage for 15 days after you sign up for an AOMEI account. 



You can easily backup files to external hard drive in Windows 10 with the help of free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. And it also applies to other systems, including Windows 7/8/11, etc. In all the systems, you can make it automatically and backup only changed files.

In its advanced edition, you can enjoy more powerful features, such as, Differential Backup, Automatic Backup Cleanup, Event trigger, USB plug in, etc. Believe me, it's one of the best backup software to help you protect data! Download it and have a try!

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.