2 Ways to Mirror Image Backup in Windows 11/10/8/7

This article will show you how to mirror an image backup in Windows 10, 8, 7, using Windows built-in tool and professional Windows 10 image backup software.


By Delia Updated on October 18, 2022

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User case: mirror Windows 10 image backup to USB

My computer is running Windows 10, and the OS takes up 67 GB of disk space. Recently, I bought a 128 GB USB flash drive and I would like to mirror a Windows 10 image backup. My question is how to mirror the system image to this USB? I hope someone can help me.

This user want to "mirror a Windows 10 image backup" which is basically creating a system backup that includes everything required by Windows to run (operating system files, personal files, installed programs, etc).

For space saving and disaster recovery reasons, such backups are usually stored somewhere other than the local disk, such as on an external hard drive, USB flash, or network share. 

Main benefits of mirror image backup

Usually, people may want to create a system image backup in Windows for the following reasons:

  • Protect your data: Sometimes there might be severe system errors or virus that affect your important data. To safeguard data security, it's necessary to mirror an image of your computer.

  • Avoid reinstalling the system: If you need to replace hard drive or computer, yet don't want to reinstall system from scratch or re-download all the programs & files you've collected for so long, then you may mirror an image of your system and directly restore it onto the new device. Also, if you have a poor use experience after a Windows 10 update, you can simply revert to an earlier state easily, like return Windows 11 to Windows 10.

How do you mirror a system image of Windows 10

You can learn how to backup Windows 11/10/8/7 to USB with Backup and Restore (Windows 7) here. But if you have problems completing the mirror image backup, you can follow Method 2 for better support.

Method 1. Windows 10 mirror image backup via Backup and Restore

Before you start, connect the USB drive to your computer and make sure it can be detected.

Step 1. Click Start, open Control Panel System and Security > Backup and Restore (Windows 7) subsequently. Once you enter the backup section, you will be given options to Set up backup or Create a system image - the former is used for data recovery and the latter for bare-metal system recovery.

Here I will show you how to Create a system image as an example. 

Create a System Image

Step 2. Choose to save backup on a hard drive or network location. Here, choose your USB drive. then click Next.

Select Backup Destination

Note: When you choose USB as the destination to create system image, you are very likely to receive the prompt “The drive is not a valid backup location”. This is because earlier USB drives didn’t have enough space and weren’t admitted as the storage location for Backup and Restore feature. 

The drive is not a valid backup location

Step 3. Then choose what to backup. The system partitions will be selected by default, you can also choose additional drives as you need. Then, click Next to continue.

Choose What to Backup

Step 4. Once you have chosen what you want to back up, you will be given an overview. After confirming everything you need is included, click “Start Backup”.

Start To Backup

Note: This is a generic approach that also applies to Windows 7, 8, 8.1 or Windows 11. However, this tool is often reported with various errors, such as “Windows Backup did not complete successfully”, “The drive is not a valid backup location”. If you don't plan to spend a lot of time and effort on toubleshooting, you can also try more stable and secure third-party software.

Method 2. Mirror system image backup via AOMEI Backupper

AOMEI Backupper Standard is a free and professional image backup software for Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, XP, Vista. Within only a few steps, you can use it to backup everything on your computer, including OS, apps, files, etc. to various destinations.

◆ It supports scheduled backup on basis of Daily, Weekly, and Monthly, and incremental or differential backup to save only changed files since the last backup.
◆ It can easily backup system to internal/external hard drive, USB flash drive, NAS, network share or cloud drive.
◆ In case a computer fails to start, you can create bootable media (USB drive or CD) that can boot the faulty PC and perform system recovery in WinPE.

*If you upgrade to Professional or higher editions, you can enjoy more advanced features, such as “USB plug in” that can auto backup data from/to USB once it is connected. If you run a scheduled backup, you can enable Automatic Backup Cleanup to delete old backup images for space saving.

How to create system image with free imaging Software:

Follow the steps to mirror a system image backup, and you need to do preparations as below at first:

  • Please connect the target hard drive to your computer. Make sure it is detected.

  • Download AOMEI Backupper Standard, install and launch it.

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

Step 1. Click "System Backup" under the "Backup" tab.

System Backup

Step 2. The system and boot related partitions have been selected as source partitions automatically. Select your USB drive as the destination path

Select Destination

Step 3. You can click on “Backup Schedule” to select Daily/Weekly/Monthly, and choose backup method as full, incrementalor differential in "Backup Scheme".

Schedule Settings General

Step 4. Click "Start Backup" to begin system backup.

With this image backup in hand, you can restore the operating system any time you need. You can refer to: How to Restore System Image from External Hard Drive


Plus: Backup Windows 10 image to create onekey recovery partition

AOMEI OneKey Recovery is a reliable one key recovery software for all the Windows and server computer, which allows you to create a system image and then restore it easily and quickly. 

By using this software, it will not only backup system, but also add boot menu as well as specify fast key (F11 or A) to access AOMEI recovery environment. Thus, you can access this software and restore system image by selecting boot menu during the system startup process. In addition, this software supports all brands of computers, such as, Lenovo, Dell, HP, Acer, etc. 

Download the demo version to have a try!

Download Demo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/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. This option will create a real partition but not specify drive letter to store image file, which can greatly avoid  any unwanted deletion.

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


If you mirror a system image in Windows 10/8/7, AOMEI Backupper is a really good choice. Under the help of it, you can mirror a system image easily and quickly. And it has helpful features like incremental backup, USB plug in, disk space management, etc. that can help you save much time and disk space. 

In addtition to backup and restore, AOMEI Backupper is also an excellent disk cloning software, so you can use it in some other occasions, like cloning Windows 10 installation to another drive.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.