Create System Image on USB Drive in Windows 10/8/7

Tracy King updated on Apr 04, 2019 to Backup and Recovery | How-to Articles

Why choose to create a system image on a USB drive

Why are so many users choose to create a system image on USB drive? Here below in the list, you'll find the reasons:

  • Convenient to save system image;
  • Cheaper than a big external hard drive;
  • Portable to restore the system to other computers wherever you need;
  • Free up storage space in PC;
  • Alternative system restore method in case of a system restore failed in PC.

So how to create a system image to USB? How to backup system image of Windows 10, 8 or 7, etc into the external USB drive? Follow to find the solution now.

How to create a system image on USB for Windows 10/8/7

There are two ways for you to create a system image on a USB. Choose one of them to apply.

Method 1. Let Windows backup recovery software help

If you are not quite familiar with system backup job in Windows PC or don't want to waste time and energy to search methods online to create a system image to a USB drive, you are at the right place.

Professional Windows backup recovery software - EaseUS Todo Backup supports you to free backup Windows system and create system image into target storage device: hard drive partition, external hard disk, USB or SD card, etc. You can directly download this software and create a system image on a USB drive for free within 30 days now:

Step 1. To backup your Windows 10/8/7 to a USB storage device, please safely connect it to your computer and let Windows recognize the USB and assign it with an invalid drive letter. Now, Launch EaseUS Todo Backup.

Step 2. Click "System Backup" and a mini window will pop up.

choose system backup to backup system to usb

Step 3. In the lower area, some of the backup settings are manageable. For example, edit the system backup info by giving it a plan name and some text description. 

edit the backup info for the system backup

Since you're going to backup the operating system to a USB drive, click "Browse" in the "Destination" area to choose a specified system backup location, which is the USB drive you just connected. You can find it under the "Computer" directory. Click "OK".

choose the usb drive as the backup location

Here, don't miss one noticeable feature if you wish an automatic way to backup Windows operating system as soon as plugged in the USB flash drive the next time. Click "Schedule" and choose "Upon event" under the "Schedule Type", tick the option "USB device plugged in (only the device on which you created tasks)". Click "Save".

set a schedule to backup system to usb automatically

Step 4. Click "Proceed". Wait for a while so you can have a system backup on your USB flash drive!

Method 2. Manually create Windows 10/8/7 system image on the USB drive

Step 1. Connect an empty USB flash drive with more than 8GB free space to your PC.

Step 2. Right-click on Start icon and select "Control Panel", select and open "Backup and Restore" (Windows 7) in a new window.

Create system image to USB.

Step 3. Select "Create a system image", navigate and select the external USB flash drive as the destination disk to save system image, click "Next" to continue.

Create system image to an external USB drive.

Step 4. The System and the System Reserved partitions to be selected by default, just click "Next" to continue the process.

Manually create system image of Windows 10/8/7 to USB.

Step 5. Click "Start backup" to begin creating your current system image to the USB drive.

Create system image of Windows 10/8/7 to USB.

Fix 'USB flash drive is not valid backup location' error if creating system image on USB drive failed

Sometimes, due to system error or USB drive issue, you may not be able to create a system image on the USB drive. How to fix USB is not valid as a backup location issue? Follow to find solutions and fix 'The drive is not a valid backup location' issue on USB in Windows 10/8/7 now:

Method 1. Format USB to NTFS and clean up all data on the USB drive

It has to be an entire empty USB drive to be used as a system image disk. If your USB drive is occupied or not working fine, you shall format it into NTFS and clean up all data on it.

Method 2. Fix and repair USB drive error with partition manager software

When the USB drive has internal errors or bad sectors, it may not be able to function properly. You can apply partition manager software - EaseUS Partition Master with its Check partition feature to repair USB drive error.

Method 3. Update USB drive driver on PC

If the USB driver is outdated, it may also cause system image creating job failed.

Method 4. Create a directory on USB drive

  • Create a directory on your USB drive.
  • Right-click the directory and choose "Share with", "Specific people".
  • Choose yourself from the list of users and click "Share" and "Done".
  • Ensure the advanced share allow permissions are set to full control.
  • Start Windows Backup and select "System Image".
  • Select the network drive as your backup location.
  • Browse to your own computer and select the USB share.
  • Enter your computer's login credentials, if your password is blank use 1 space and click "OK".

After this, you can apply EaseUS Todo Backup to free create systems on USB for Windows 10, 8 or 7 with ease.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose EaseUS Todo Backup?

"The easiest way to protect your data and system files."techradar

"EaseUS Todo Backup Free is one of the most popular free data backup applications available. This software offers a myriad of features and is extremely user-friendly. It provides a full system backup, meaning you can back up your entire operating system."TopTenReviews

"EaseUS ToDo Backup Home is a great backup program, well suited to the home and SMB space."PCWorld

What is the difference between Clone and Backup? In what cases should I use Clone?

Clone will copy one disk to another or one partition to another (unallocated space is also supported). Usually, this option is used to upgrade the current disk by creating an identical copy. Backup will generate a .PBD image file containing the selected files or system that can be restored from the .PBD image if needed.

What is the difference between System Backup and Disk Backup?

System Backup will auto-select the system boot related partition(s) as the backup source to make sure the system image can be restored properly. Disk/Partition Backup will allow you to manually select a whole disk or speficy a certain partition as the backup source. You will get the same backup result as System Backup if you manually select the system and boot partitions with the Disk/Partition Backup option.

As a computer newbie, what features should I use to protect my computer?

You can use System Backup to back up the system and boot partitions, use Disk/Partition backup to back up the data partition and add plans to run an automatic backup. If you use the computer frequently or have software that may cause boot failure of the computer, we would suggest you back up the computer every 1 to 2 days. For other situations, you can backup the computer once a week. In addition, you can schedule File Backup to back up the files which are changed frequently.

What kind of storage service should I use to save my backup images?

EaseUS Todo Backup can save backup images to internal disks, external disks, network drives, or free cloud(Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive) and CD/DVD. It is suggested to save the images to the internal/external/network drives to save time as those kinds of disks have a better read-write speed. It is suggested NOT to save the image on the source disk, because once the disk is damaged, all the files on the disk will become unavailable and you will be unable to restore the image.

As a company network administrator, what features should I use to protect our internal computers?

It is recommended that you use the SQL Backup feature to back up your company's SQL server and Exchange Backup feature to back up the Exchange server. In addition, you can execute System Backup to back up the system and boot partitions on every computer and set a plan to execute the backup once a day or twice a week to ensure that the computer can be restored timely when it has boot issues. File Backup feature can be used to back up important user data. If there are a large quantity of computers, you can purchase EaseUS Backup Center to manage the backups on the client computers centrally.

About EaseUS Todo Backup

Be it a file, system, partition, or disk, EaseUS Todo Backup will help you back up or clone the item and provide you with multiple backup plans.