By Ivy / Last Updated June 19, 2020

The need to backup and restore Windows 10 to new hard drive

Given that you have a laptop that can only hold one hard drive which is failing, how do you replace the hard drive without spending time reinstalling operating system (OS) and programs? In this case, you can back up Windows 10 to network or a removable storage device. If you ever want to replace or upgrade your hard drive, you can restore system backup to a new hard drive.

Although the final version of Windows 10 has been released for a long time, it still has many bugs reported by users. If you now are running Windows 10, it is essential to backup your system and then you can restore Windows 10 image to new hard drive in the event of hard drive failure.

When it comes to transferring Windows 10 to new hard drive, there are two workable methods: using Windows built-in tool or with a third-party tool named AOMEI Backupper. Backup and Restore (Windows 7) in Windows 10 can help you create Windows system image as well as a system repair disc that can help you boot your new hard drive. Keep reading to get the two methods.

Method 1. Restore Windows 10 system image to new hard drive with built-in tool

The following are the detailed steps to restore system image from external hard drive to new hard drive. You should prepare one external hard drive or USB flash drive to save the backup image. And also one CD/DVD that will be used to create the system repair disc.

Part 1: Create Windows 10 system image with Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

Step 1. Go to Control Panel, click System and Security and Backup and Restore (Windows 7) in order.

Step 2. Click Create a system image in the left pane.

Create A System Image

Note: There’s one option named “Set up backup” at the right side. You can also click it to create a system image. On this occasion, you can add other files or partitions that you want to backup besides the system.

Step 3. Choose the destination (external hard drive or USB flash drive) to save your backup.

Step 4. The drives that are required for Windows to run will be included by default and click Next to continue.

Step 5. Confirm the settings and click Start backup.

When the backup is done, you'll be asked if you want to create a system repair disc (CD/DVD) to access the recovery options when your computer is unable to boot. If you do not have the CD-ROM device, you can choose to create Windows 10 recovery disk with your USB flash drive instead.

Part 2: Restore Windows 10 system image to new hard drive

Step 1. Shutdown the computer and replace the old hard drive with the new one.

Step 2. Connect the external hard drive with the system image backup and the system repair disc to your computer.

Step 3. Boot computer from the system repair disc. Change your system's BIOS settings to make sure it can boot from the CD/DVD by hitting the specified key on the first screen.

Step 4. Click Next when you see the Windows Setup interface for the first time, then choose Repair your computer > Troubleshoot > System Image Recovery > Windows 10 subsequently.


Step 5. Tick Use the latest available system image and then click Next.

Use the Latest Available  System Image

Step 6. Choose Format and repartition disks option, then click Next > Finish > Yes to start the restoration.

Method 2. Restore Windows 10 image to new hard drive with AOMEI Backupper

AOMEI Backupper Standard is, a reliable free backup and restore software, can help you backup and restore Windows 10 to new hard drive smoothly while Windows is running well. It has a thoughtful design and concise interface, so all the steps are very easy to understandard.

It also allows you to perform offline restore via bootable media or AOMEI PXE tool when your system is not working. More so, you can restore Windows 10 system image to different computer , even with different hardware. However, you need the help of Universal Restore feature and this feature only available on the paid version, such as, AOMEI Backupper Professional.

This software is not only a backup and restore software, but also a disk cloning software. It can help you clone Windows 10 system to new hard drive directly or migrate Windows 10 to SSD without reinstalling.

How to restore Windows 10 system image to new hard drive?

To restore Windows 10 to new hard drive, you should first create Windows 10 system image with AOMEI Backupper, because it can only restore the image created by itself. You can save the backup image to your external hard drive, USB flash drive or other storage devices. And also create a bootable media in advance.

Then follow the steps below to restore Windows 10 image backup to new hard drive.

Step 1. Download, install and launch AOMEI Backupper. If you use laptop, boot the bootable media created by AOMEI Backupper and install the new hard drive to your laptop. Then, connect the devices contain your system image to your computer.

Step 2. Under Restore tab, click Select Image File to find the image on your device and hit Next.

Select Image File Winpe

Step 3. Select to restore the entire backup or a part, check the option Restore system to other location and click Next to continue. If you set a scheduled full/incremental/differential backup task, there will be a few backup image that you can choose.

Restore to Other Location

Step 4. Select a destination partition to restore t the image and click Next.

Select Destination

Step 5. Click Start Restore to perform the restoration process.

Preview Restore to Other Location

Sometimes, there will be an unallocated space after you restore Windows 10 backup to new hard drive, so you need to move unallocated space to c drive or just create a new partition with the unallocated space.
To restore system created by a computer with different hardware, you can choose to upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional and then use "Universal Restore".

Plus: system image created by Windows built-in tool

Generally speaking, if you have a system backup, you can restore it at any time. But, in Windows 10 and earlier version of Windows, there is a one major problem with system image: it does not support restoring to partition layouts that smaller than the original disk. That’s to say, if you restore a system imaged created on 500GB hard drive to 250GB SSD, you will receive the system image restore failed error and indicated the disk is too small.

If you receive this error, the backup image is useless unless you replace hard drive with a larger one. Instead, you can use a third party tool like AOMEI Backupper or consider cloning Windows 10 to new hard drive.

System Image Restore Failed

Besides the restore error, Windows built-in backup tool still has backup errors, such as, system image backup failed because of shadow copy storage, not enough space, EFI or BIOS, no disk can be used, 0x80070002, etc.


That’s all for Windows 10 backup and restore to new hard drive. You can make it with Windows built-in tool or with AOMEI Backupper. No matter what method you use, a repair disc or bootable media is needed if your system crash. If your computer does not have optical drive, you can create bootable media just with the USB flash drive.

Besides system backup, you still can create disk backup, partition backup and file backup. Also, you can set your custom schedule backup task which can help you perform the backup automatically. Just explore it by yourself now!