By Ivy / Last update December 13, 2021

Where to backup your computer

When you decide to backup your computer, you need to choose a proper storage device. Below are some choices:

1. Internal hard drive.

If you want to backup the frequently used files or folders, you can backup to internal hard drive. Once you lose it, you can restore them in a short time.

However, if your hard drive fails or computer crashes, you will lose your files or folders forever.

2. The Network attached storage (NAS).

To ensure the security of your data, backup to NAS drive could be your best choice. Even if your computer is damaged by fire, virus or directly crashes, you still can restore your backup from NAS.

However, Once power loss or machine failure appears, retrieving or recovering files or folders from the system becomes complex. In this case, you need to ask professional data recovery software for help, or you cannot access any NAS device.

3. External hard drive/USB hard drive.

If you want to backup your important files or folders even operating system, you can choose an external hard drive or USB hard drive. It's more flexible and portable. You can take it everywhere. And You can restore backup whenever you need only if there is a computer. At the same time, you can avoid data loss owing to hard drive failure, computer crashes, etc.

Unfortunately, if your external hard drive is infected by viruses or damaged, your data will be in danger.

Why backup Windows 8 to external hard drive?

For computer users, you may encounter some unexpected failure like computer breakdown, blue screen or black screen in Windows 7/8/8.1/10/11. And it may cause your computer unbootable. Also, it may result in data loss, including photos, video, files, etc.

In this case, you can install your system again but there is no way to recover your photos, video, files etc. Furthermore, reinstalling computer is really a time-consuming process which will cost you half a day, even more.

To protect the security of our operating system and data, you should create a system image backup. If you make one backup ahead of time, you can restore system image from external hard drive when needed.

How to backup Windows 8 to external hard drive

See below, I'll take an external hard drive as destination path and show you how to backup computer to external hard drive on Windows 8/8.1

Backup Windows 8 with Windows 7 file recovery

Windows built-in tool will always be the first choice for the majority of people. Let's see the detail step of it.

Step 1. Type Recovery in the Windows 8 start screen, then select Settings and Windows 7 File Recovery subsequently.

Windows 7 File Recovery

Step 2. In the Windows 7 File Recovery control panel, click Create a system image.

Create a System Image in Windows 8

Step 3. Select a location for your system image.

Step 4. Confirm your backup settings and click Start backup to begin the pending operations.

Start Backup

When this operation comes to an end, you will be asked to create a system repair disc. It is mainly used to recover your computer when your computer crashes.

In addition, you can choose to create a recovery drive. It can also hep you recover the computer having problems. You can boot from the recovery drive and navigate to Troubleshoot >Advanced options > System Image Recovery, then finish the rest of steps according to its instructions.

backup Windows 8 to external hard drive with AOMEI Backupper

Windows built-in tool can do a remarkable work and help you backup system image. However, there are still some limitations. So many users want to find an easier backup tool.

In the market, you can find many tools. But you do not know which one is easy-to-use. To save your time and energy, I'll recommend you free backup and restore software AOMEI Backupper.

It can help you backup system image without effort. And it does not cost you a cent. It can support all kinds of Windows-based operating system, including windows 7/8/8.1/10/11. You can backup to external hard drive, USB flash drive, cloud drive like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. Furthermore, you can enjoy many advanced features, such as Migrating OS to SSD, Cloning dual boot hard drive, One-way file sync, Restoring files from backup, etc.

Now, coming to our point:

Step 1. Plug your external hard drive into your computer and make sure it can be recognized by your computer.

Step 2. Download AOMEI Backupper, install and launch it.

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

Step 3. In the main page, click Backup > System Backup subsequently.

Create System Image in Windows 8

Step 4. Set the external hard drive as the destination location and click Start Backup to run the pending operation.

Start Windows 8 Backup


  • If you want to compress your files, you can click Backup Options and select Compression.
  • If you want to do a schedule backup, you can tick the checkbox before Schedule and select whatever you want among the eight options.
  • If you want to manage your disk space and make full use of it, you can select Scheme. It's available on the paid version. You can upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Pro if you still use the free version.
  • This software is also applied to backup Windows 8.1 to external hard drive, backup Windows 10 to external hard drive, etc.

In this article, you can see two ways to backup Windows 8 to external hard drive. But I prefer to use free backup software AOMEI Backupper. The steps are very easy. And it can offer more advanced features other than Create a system image.