How to Backup Computer to External Hard Drive in Windows 10?

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Want to know how to backup computer to external hard drive in Windows 10? This guide will talk about three ways of backing up Windows 10 computer to external disks. There are a bunch of situations that files stored on internal hard could get lost and operating system might crash, thus, we have no reason not to keep computer backups on external hard drives. This article will show you how to set up Windows 10 computer backups with Windows built-in utilities and third-party Windows backup software.

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Table of Contents

About how to backup computer Windows 10

Why should we back up computer? A computer backup can be a simple copy of files you have on your computer such as operating system, preference settings, installed applications, personal data, etc. Creating a backup for computer will be an effective way to avoid data loss, for it enables you to restore data from backup copy when data loss issue happens. It is known to all users that there are various causes leading to computer data loss such as virus, hard drive crash, system corruption, natural disaster, computer failure, accidental deletion, formatting, partition loss, RAW drive, and so on. Therefore, it is highly recommended to create backups for your important data like family photos, documents, videos, music collections, etc.

What kind of backup do we need? How to backup computer in Windows 10? When you make plans for computer backup, you may have three options: a complete backup for Windows system, backup of essential files and folders, backup of both system and personal files. As to the device to hold backup files, you'll have quite a few options. For instance, computer backup files can be stored on internal or external hard drives, USB flash drive, could drives, etc. If condition permits, you can keep backup copies on multiple devices. What kind of backup tools can be used to complete the task? In general, you can use either Windows built-in backup tools such File History or third-party backup software like Isoo Backup, DiskGenius. We'll cover tutorials of both backup tools below.

Method 1: How to backup computer to external hard drive using Isoo Backup?

It is a wise move to keep a backup for your Windows 10 system, which is able to effectively protect PC against system crash, system issue, BSOD, hardware failure, etc. If you do not back up data regularly, you should at least keep a system backup. Here is how to set up one.

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Isoo Backup is easy-to-use and feature-rich Windows backup software, protecting operating system, settings, files, and partitions with ease. This backup software comes with a wizard-driven interface which enables you to complete backup of entire system or partitions via simple clicks. You can easily set where to store the backup image such as internal disk, external HDD, USB flash drive. Moreover, the backup file can be protected by password. It fully supports UEFI-based computers which enable Secure Boot, and it is compatible with Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP and Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019/SBS 2003/2008. You can start with the free trial edition to test if it meets your requirements.

More features of Isoo Backup:

  • Full backup and increment backup are provided to create multiple restore points.
  • Backup files and data from both system and non-system partitions to external drives.
  • Support hot backup of Windows system without rebooting computer.
  • Compatible with UEFI, GPT, RAID, NVME disks and secure boot.
  • Supports to unlock BitLocker drive and then create backups.
  • Create bootable USB disks so that you can perform system / file restore from unbootable computers.

How to to backup Windows 10 to external hard drive?


  • Free download and install Isoo Backup
  • Connect your external hard drive to your computer

Step 1   Launch Isoo backup software from your computer and click Backup button from home interface.

how to backup computer to external hard drive Windows 10

Step 2   Click Start button and Isoo Backup will starts to backup process.

Isoo Backup supports hot backup which completes system backup when Windows is running without rebooting to WinPE or DOS environments. Hot Backup is selected by default, and you can unselect if you want to carry out a regular backup.

how to backup computer to external hard drive Windows 10

If you want to modify the destination location for backup files, click Options button. Then you can select external hard drive here so that Windows system will be backed up to external disk. Apart from setting destination path, you can also change compression method, whether to split the backup file, exclude folders during backup, set password, etc. Click OK after getting everything configured.

how to backup computer to external hard drive Windows 10

Step 3   Wait for the backup process to complete.

how to backup computer to external hard drive Windows 10

How to restore Windows 10 computer from backup?

As we can see the backup process is quite easy and fast, the backup of Windows 10 requires only a couple of minutes. Now let's have a look at how the system restore process works.

Step 1   Launch Isoo Backup from your computer and click Restore button or hit F8 key.

how to backup computer to external hard drive Windows 10

Step 2   Select a restore point and click Next button.

Isoo Backup automatically locates all available restore points for your system and you can choose one from the list. One thing you should be noted is that current system, settings and system files will be lost and restored to the selected time point. Please make sure you are selecting the correctt target partition and restore time point.

how to backup computer to external hard drive Windows 10

Step 3   Click Start button and click OK on the pop-up message box to give confirmation.

how to backup computer to external hard drive Windows 10

Then your computer will reboot to the pre-OS environment to complete system restore task. As the picture below, Isoo Backup is restoring computer to selected time point. Once the system restore process completes, computer will automatically reboot to Windows again.

how to backup computer to external hard drive Windows 10

Method 2: How to backup computer to external hard drive via disk cloning in Windows 10?

Cloning disk is one of the frequently used methods to backup computer data. We can clone or copy disk to an external disk and get an identical copy easily and quickly. Besides, this is also a good solution to change or replace hard disk. DiskGenius is free disk partition software and it supports to disk clone and partition copy, such as clone HDD to smaller SSD, migrate Windows 10 to SSD, clone HDD to external disk, clone SD card, clone partitions in NTFS/FAT/exFAT/EXT4 file systems, etc. In this part, we'll show you how to backup computer to an external hard disk by way of cloning disk, here is how:

Step 1   Free download disk clone freeware DiskGenius and get it installed on your computer. Launch DiskGenius and click Tools > Clone Disk, as follows:

how to backup computer to external hard drive Windows 10

Step 2   Select the disk you want to clone on the pop-up window and click OK button.

Here you should choose the hard disk you want to backup, and in this example, we are going to backup system disk, and thus HD0 is chosen as source disk.

how to backup computer to external hard drive Windows 10

Step 3   Choose destination disk and click OK button.

This step asks to choose the disk to store cloned data. Please make sure all data on the selected drive have been backed up, for the cloning process will remove all data of destination disk and writes files that are copied from source disk. That is to say, if you choose a wrong disk here, you are going to lose important files, and data recovery from destination disk will be very hard due to data overwrite.

how to backup computer to external hard drive Windows 10

Step 4   Click Start button to initiate the disk clone process.

DiskGenius provides three ways of disk cloning and you can choose one based on your requirement. You can view the guide Clone Disk to learn difference of these disk clone methods.

how to backup computer to external hard drive Windows 10

Step 5   Click Hot Migration button to let the software continue.

Such prompt shows up because of the disk to be cloned contains system partition where current Windows is installed. The Hot Migration enables you to complete system disk clone without interrupting running system.

how to backup computer to external hard drive Windows 10

Wait for the process to complete.

how to backup computer to external hard drive Windows 10

Method 3: How to backup computer to external hard drive using Windows 10 File History?

File History, initially introduced in Windows 8, is the major backup tool in Windows 10. It allows users to set up an external hard drive for the backup. Now we'll show you how to use File History to back up your Windows 10 computer to an external hard disk.

Step 1   Connect your external hard drive to computer and make sure the drive is recognized and accessible by Windows.

Step 2   Click Start menu and choose Settings. Then go to Update & Security > Backup.

Step 3   Click "Add a drive" under Back up using File History section, and you can choose the attached external hard disk there. Then you can see an on/off switch appear under a title called "Automatically back up my files".

Step 4   Click More options to change backup settings. By default, File History backs up all folders in User folder and creates backups every hour. You can modify these settings according to your own needs.

Important tips regarding how to backup computer in Windows 10

When it comes to backing up computer in Windows 10, you should pay attention to following rules so as to protect data in a better manner.

  • After backing up your computer to external hard drive, you should place the disk in a safe location and protect it against physical or logical damages. Ideally, it is suggested to keep more than one backup copies and keep these backups on at least two physical locations so that you won't lose backup due to a single accident.
  • Arrange enough time for backup. It is important to make plans for backups, for the backup process might be time-consuming and you may have to keep your computer running during backing.
  • Try to keep your backup updated. It is necessary to update your backup files after files are changed or increased, for example, you can create incremental backups on the basis of how often your device is used.


Now you've learnt how to backup computer to external hard drive in Windows 10. No matter which backup solution you use, you will be able to keep backups for Windows 10 computer easily and safely. You can also backup other disks and partitions to external drives with steps above. Of course, you can upload backup file to cloud storage devices. As long as you are thinking about what you can do if computer crashes or data gets lost, you are absolutely beyond of many people. If you have not backed up your computer, act now. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding computer backup or Windows backup software, please feel free to contact our support team.


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