How to Copy OS from Laptop to USB Pen Drive

Jean updated on Aug 11, 2019 to Backup and Recovery | How-to Articles

Tip: This tutorial also applies to similar demands of copying OS from a laptop HDD/SSD to a USB pen drive. For example:

how to transfer Windows OS from a laptop to USB drive and make it bootable?
How to install the laptop OS on an external pen drive?

Why Do You Copy OS from Your Laptop to a USB Pen Drive

Portable and accessible anywhere. For example, you can easily access your work computer system from home with only a USB drive!

That fully explains why you put a laptop OS on a removable storage device. In fact, other than carrying your laptop operating system elsewhere (at home, in the office or on a business trip), there is another noticeable benefit. With a bootable USB pen drive at hand, you shall feel worry-free and risk-free when accidents happen, especially the hardware failure or system blue/black screen of death that prevents you from booting up your laptop normally.

What's the Best Way to Put Your Laptop OS to a USB Pen Drive

First, let's list some viable solutions:

  • Windows To Go Creator.
  • System backup software.
  • System clone software.

As we know that the Windows To Go is a feature only available in Windows 8.1 Enterprise, Windows 8 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education. People running those mentioned operating system editions can use this tool to install OS on some supported USB drives. Otherwise, it's likely to receive the error "this is a removable drive and isn't compatible with Windows To Go" and fail to create Windows To Go with non-certified USB flash drive.

By contrast, the latter two ways seem to be much easier with fewer limitations. Even though, the last way of system clone is much better!

This is what you should clearly understand between the two manners of copying OS from a laptop HDD/SSD to a USB pen drive.

First, you need to download EaseUS Todo Backup on your laptop. It's reputable Windows backup software with comprehensive solutions to system backup and system clone.

Second, the system backup way takes effect like this:
It's software associated. i.e., you can only use the software to back up the laptop operating system, in addition, restore the system from the USB pen drive via the software again.

At last, the system clone way is the simplest and most efficient. It's independently existed as long as you have transferred the operating system from the laptop to the USB drive, which means that once the bootable USB pen drive is successfully made for the first time, you can boot the laptop OS anytime on any other computer or laptop, without requiring additional tools!

How to Create a Portable USB Pen Drive with Easeus Todo Backup

USB requirements:

1. Check how much disk space is used for the system C drive. Let's assume 40GB. Then prepare a qualified USB drive, of which the disk capacity must be larger than 40GB.

2. Do you use an empty new USB drive or an old one? Make sure that all the important data has been safely transferred because the system clone will overwrite data on it completely.

3. Correctly connect the USB drive to your machine and make sure that Windows has detected it and assigned a drive letter to it.

Follow the overall process to create a portable Windows USB drive and boot from it:

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Todo Backup. Expand the menu and click "System Clone" in the lower position.

click system clone

Step 2. On the "System clone" window, the software will choose the system partition and boot partition by default. Just Choose the USB drive as the destination disk. 

Click on "Advanced options" and then "Create Portable Windows USB drive". Click "OK".

choose the usb drive to create a portable windows usb drive

Click "Proceed". The software will start immediately cloning the default partitions of your desktop/laptop to the USB drive. After the cloning process is over, you can safely plug the USB drive out.

start to create portable windows usb drive

Step 3. Boot from the USB drive.

  • Connect your portable USB to the computer
  • Restart the computer and press "Del" to enter BIOS
  • Set the PC to boot from the portable USB by changing the boot order in BIOS under the "Boot" tab
  • Save changes and you'll see your system booting up from the USB drive

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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.