[Checklist] What to Backup Before Reinstalling Windows 10?

Wanna reinstall Windows 10 and don’t know what to backup before reinstallation? This article will give you a clear guide.


by Lily Updated on February 5, 2024

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Possible scenarios for reinstalling Windows 10

Reinstalling Windows 10 seems not easy for most of us, especially for those who are not too tech savvy. However, you may have to reinstall Windows 10 if you are caught in the following scenarios:

  • Slow system: your Windows system works slow and it can’t be speeded up by uninstalling programs.

  • Stubborn malware: your computer is attacked by viruses or malware and you can’t get rid of them with Windows Defender or other antivirus software.

  • Other system issues: you are tired of troubleshooting and fixing the specific problems and you want to figure out a faster way.

In these situations, you should try reinstalling Windows 10 to get back a working, speedy computer. Then, how to reinstall Windows 10 without losing data? The most secure way is to backup important data before reinstallation. Read on to find out what to backup and how to backup before reinstalling Windows 10.

👉 Things to backup before reinstalling Windows 10 [Important]💡
👉 Best backup freeware for Windows PC
👉 How to backup computer before reinstalling Windows 10🔥

Things to backup before reinstalling Windows 10 [Important]

You must be aware that Windows reinstallation will remove settings, installed programs as well as personal files. As a result, do a backup before reinstalling Windows if you don’t want to suffer from data loss. Here is a complete checklist:

Personal files

This includes documents, photos, videos, music, and any other files stored on your computer's hard drive. You can copy them to an external hard drive, USB flash drive, or cloud storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive.

Programs and drivers

Common drivers to back up include graphics card drivers, network adapter drivers, audio drivers and chipset drivers. Also, you should backup essential programs, such as Office suites, antivirus or security software and any specialized software you use for work or hobbies.

Email and contacts

If you use an email client like Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird, make sure to backup your emails, contacts, and any other important data stored within the email client.

Browser bookmarks and settings

If you use web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge, you may want to export your bookmarks and other settings so you can import them back after reinstalling Windows.

Usernames and passwords for all the sites, applications you use

Serial numbers or license codes for your applications

Now you know what to save before reinstalling Windows 10. What you need is a specialized backup utility to assist you.

Best backup freeware for Windows PC

Here I’d like to recommend the best free backup software—AOMEI Backupper Standard to you.

  • It offers you various backup types: System/Disk/Partition/File/Cloud Backup in free edition and Outlook Backup/Email Backup in higher editions.
  • With the Schedule Backup feature, you can set your backups to run automatically.
  • You are allowed to do incremental backup to improve backup efficiency and save storage space.
  • It supports all Windows PC operating systems like Windows 11/10/8/7/Vista/XP. However, if you are running Windows Server operating system, please turn to server backup software.

Now download AOMEI Backupper and learn how to backup programs, drivers and files before reinstalling Windows in the next part.

AOMEI Backupper

Best free Windows backup software for personal use.

How to backup computer before reinstalling Windows 10

To backup programs, drivers and files before reinstalling Windows 10, I suggest you perform disk backup with AOMEI Backupper. You can choose to backup to an external hard drive or a network location according to your situation. Let’s take an external hard drive as an example:

1. Connect the external drive to your computer and make sure it is detected.

2. Install and launch AOMEI Backupper. Click Backup on the left pane and select Disk Backup.

Disk Backup

3. Click Add Disk to select the current hard drive as the source disk to be backed up.

Add Disk

4. Click the folder icon as shown below to select the external drive as the destination path to save the backup image file.

Select Backup Destination

5. Click Start Backup to run the backup.

Start Backup

>> Options: you can enable email notification, choose the compression level for the backup image file and select intelligent sector backup or sector-by-sector backup.
>> Schedule Backup: you can set the backup task to run automatically at fixed intervals.
>> Backup Scheme: it will delete old image files automatically to save disk space for you. You need to upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional to enjoy this feature.

6. Safely disconnect the external drive and keep it properly.

✨ Helpful note:

To restore certain files or programs after reinstalling Windows 10, you need to use Explore Image (paid feature) to unpack the backup file into a virtual drive and then copy the desired files or programs to another location.

Explore Image


You have figured out what to backup before reinstalling Windows 10 and how to backup with AOMEI Backupper. In addition to the backup & recovery feature, you can also use AOMEI Backupper as free SSD migration tool and Allway Sync alternative. Give AOMEI Backupper a try and you will get powerful data protection and easy data migration!

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.