By Ivy / Last update July 1, 2021

Why should you backup programs before reinstalling Windows 10/8/7?

When there are some problems with Windows, some people intend to reinstall Windows. By starting over with a clean copy of the Operating System, you can remove bloatware, wipe out malware. Also, it can solve some problems like slow running speed, and low disk space.

Reinstalling Windows Operating System means every content on the drive will be overwritten. Your programs, applications and personal data like music, document, photos, radios will be lost. To avoid reinstalling programs and losing valuable data, you should know what things to backup before reinstalling windows. You should backup programs and files before reinstalling Windows.

Besides, after reinstalling Windows, if you are not satisfied with your newly installed Operating System, a backup allows you to restore your system to previous state any time as you want.

How to backup programs and files before reinstalling Windows/10/8/7?

To backup programs and files, you can have two ways basically. The first one is to use Windows built-in tools. And the second one is to use a professional backup and restore software – AOMEI Backupper.

Backup programs and files via Windows built-in tool

There is a common tool in Windows 10/8/7, that is Windows Backup and Restore. Let’s see how to backup programs and files before reinstalling Windows 10/8/7 with Windows Backup and Restore step by step.

Step 1. To open Backup and Restore, click Start, select Control Panel, and then System and Security. And at last, click Backup and Restore. Or you can type “backup and restore” into the Search box. In the search results, select Backup and Restore.

Step 2. At the interface of Backup and restore, click Create a system image in the left panel. A system image backup includes programs, applications, desktop, My Documents, etc.

Create a System Image

Step 3. At next Window, specify where you want to save the backup. Windows Backup and Restore supports you to save the backup on a hard disk, DVDs, or network location.

Save the Backup

Tip: If you want to choose USB drive as destination path, you may receive an error message which says: “The drive is not a valid backup location”. This is a default limitation. To backup Windows to USB drive, the capacity of the USB should at least be equal to 64GB.

Step 4. At next Window, confirm your backup settings. If there is no problem, click Start Backup.

It’s pretty easy to backup system with Windows backup and restore. However, according to some users, the built-in backup tool may fail you. You may meet problems like Backup and Restore not working or Volume Shadow Copy Service error.

Besides, this tool has some other limitations. You cannot create incremental backup with this tool. You cannot use the image backup created by Windows backup and Restore to restore the system to a dissimilar hardware. If you want to find a better and more flexible way to backup programs and files, you can use a professional third party software – AOMEI Backupper.

Backup programs and files via AOMEI Backupper

AOMEI Backupper is an overall software which is free for Windows 10/8/7/XP/Visa. It has many powerful features and it allows you to choose backup source in a more flexible way. You can choose to backup specified files and folders, system, partition, disk.

It supports you to backup to USB drive without any requirement of its capacity. You can also backup to cloud drive, NAS, internal/external hard drive. The awesome part is that you can create incremental and differential backup, which will save you much space to store multiple backup versions.

Let’s see how to backup programs and files before reinstalling Windows 10/8/7 with AOMEI Backupper.

Step 1. Download AOMEI Backupper, install and launch this software.

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

Step 2. At the main interface, click Backup, then choose System Backup.

System Backup

Step 2. It will automatically choose the source for you. You just need to choose another location as destination path.

Select Destination

Step 3. You can click Options to set backup encryption, compression, email notification, etc. Click Schedule to set automatic backup based on five modes: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event trigger, USB plug in respectively.

Schedule Settings

At last, click Start Backup.

Generally speaking, only your system partition will be affected after reinstalling Windows. Data on other partitions will keep intact. Of course, you can never be more careful about your valuable data. you can make a disk backup if necessary.

Only a few clicks, you can backup programs and files before reinstalling Windows. Then you can rest assured to reinstall the system just as you like.

Backup program and files using AOMEI OneKey Recovery

AOMEI OneKey Recovery is a reliable one key recovery software for Windows system and server computer, which allows you to backup system including all the programs and data on it. And it allows you to backup system to AOMEI OneKey recovery partition or other location, such as, external hard drive or USB drive, etc.  The first one is recommended option, because it will create a real partition but not specify drive letter to store image file and boot files, thus greatly reducing the risk of mistake deletion. 

And, it will add a boot menu on the computer during the backup process and also specify a fast key (F11 or A) to access it. After creating a system image, every time you start computer, you will see two entry, namely, Windows operating system (eg: Windows 10) and AOMEI OneKey Recovery Partition. To restore system without booting Windows, select the second option and restoer system with OneKey System Recovey option.

Download it to have a try right now! Note that the Demo version can only be used for demostration. If you need to backup program and files with it, you need to upgrade to the professional first. 

Download Demo Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1.  Launch one key recovery software AOMEI OneKey Recovery, click OneKey System Backup.

Okr Backup

Step 2. Tick Backup system to AOMEI OneKey Recovery Partition and click Next. 

Backup System to AOMEI OneKey Recovery Partition


  • If you want to set compression level or password for the backup image, click Backup Options at the lower location.
  • If you want to backup system to other location, select the second option.  

Step 3. Select a partition on the disk and click Start Backup, it will create a recovery partition at the right side later. 

Select Partition

To make a summary, there are three ways to backup programs and files before reinstalling Windows. If you want to have a better experience to backup and restore, the last two ways are recommended.