By Ivy / Last update April 6, 2022

What does ghost a hard drive mean?

Ghosting a hard drive means creating a backup of OS, settings, system configurations, applications, personal data, and more onto a hard disk. In simple words, it is creating a copy of the operating system and data stored on it and you can use it to restore computer to an earlier date if it is not responding or stop working due to hard disk failure, system crash, virus attack, etc. This applies to Windows 7, 8, 10, 11 and previous systems.

Ghost Hard Drive Windows 7

Thus, it's not difficult to see that ghosting a hard drive is beneficial for data protection. If it is a system disk, you can still use it to avoid system reinstallation and data loss. In addition, some users try to ghost Windows 7 to a new hard drive or another drive for disk upgrade. For better performance, you can ghost a hard drive to SSD directly. 

Best free ghost software for Windows 7 - AOMEI Backupper Standard

As a matter of fact, you can use Backup and Restore in Windows 7 to ghost hard drive, but this tool is not maintained and has many limitations, such as, can't backup system to USB drive, the disk you want to backup must be formatted as NTFS file system, etc. Thus, it's suggested to try other excellent software.

 AOMEI Backupper Standard is a good choice. With it, you can easily ghost hard drive in Windows 7 as well as other systems, such as, ghost Windows 10 hard drive. Also, it provides many corresponding features to help you: 

Schedule Backup: It supports backing up disk in daily, weekly, monthly, so as to keep files and all the changes made to them.
Incremental Backup: It allows you to backup only changed files, which saves much backup time and disk space.
Other backup features: Besides, you still can enjoy email notifiction, intelligent sector backup, VSS backup service, normal compression, etc.
Offline restore: It allows you to create bootable USB to boot your computer and restore image without booting into Windows. This is especially useful when the computer won't start.

How to make ghost image of Windows 7

Before you start to make ghost image of Windows 7, you need to download AOMEI Backupper Standard and install it on your computer. This software also applies to other systems, such as,  ghost Windows 10 hard drive, and it's totally free of charge. For server users, try AOMEI Backupper Server.


1. Run AOMEI Backupper, you will see the user-friendly main interface of this ghost image software. Choose Disk Backup under Backup tab.

Disk Backup

2. Select current hard drive as the source disk and select a destination path to store the ghost image by clicking Add Disk.

Add Disk

3. Confirm the operation and click Start Backup to ghost a hard drive in Windows 7.

Start Backup

Wait until the process completes, you will have a copy of your disk. Note it only includes items when you backuo system, not including changes made later.

In simple word, if your computer stop working, you can only restore system to the point you backed it up, and will lose changes between this period. To avoid this from root, you need to set schedule backup and be sure your files will be backed up regularly, for example, daily.

Incremental or Differential Backup

Also, you can try premium features - Event trigger, USB Plug in on the professional version. Besides, you can enjoy full/incremental/differential backup and automatic backup cleanup (to delete old backup images automatically for more space) in the Backup Scheme.

Enable Automatic Backup Cleanup

And you can encrypt backup image with password to prevent data leakage, enable email notification, change compression level, select intelligent sector backup or sector-by-sector backup etc. And you need to upgarde now (5% discount for one computer) before using some of these features. 


Now you know how to ghost a hard drive in Windows 7 perfectly with the help of free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. And you can ghost system to a new hard drive (check this article: ghost Windows 10 OS). 

Whether you want to ghost a hard drive in Windows 7 or to new one, you can make it automatically by daily/weekly/monthly backup. For a long run, this may result in backup disk full due to accumulated backups, you can upgrade standard edition and delete old backup image with cleanup methods. Just download it to have a try!