How to Restore System Image from External Hard Drive Windows 10

Cedric Grantham updated on Apr 21, 2020 to Backup and Recovery | How-to Articles

How to create and restore Windows 10 system image with Windows built-in tool
Create a system image on an external hard drive
Restore Windows 10 system image backup from external hard drive
How to create and restore system image in Windows 10 with a third-party master

Why Create a System Image on External Hard Drive

A Windows 10 system image is an exact copy of the operating system, boot sectors, settings, programs, registry, and essential files on the C drive (generally speaking). It ensures you the computer protection and revives your Windows 10 installation quickly and easily.

The reason for creating a system image on the external hard drive is that when your computer corrupts, broken, crashed, or under the risk of virus attack, it may be inaccessible, and you can't make the system image recovery on the computer if you have backed up on the local drive. Furthermore, creating a system image on the external hard drive can save considerable space on the sized HDD/SSD.  

How to Create a Windows 10 System Image Backup

Before you restore the system backup, you need to create a system image to the external hard drive before. What’s more, you must create a system repair disc and the end of backup to access the recovery options if your computer is unable to boot.

Step 1. Connect the external hard drive to your computer.

Step 2. Open "Settings" > click "Update and Security" > "Backup" > "go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7)".


Step 3. Choose to "Create a system image" on the left pane > check "On a hard disk" option under "Where do you want to save the backup?". Choose the target external hard drive in On a hard disk drop-down menu.


Step 4. Click "Next" > "Start backup". Wait for a full backup of your system completes.

restore windows10 system image-3

When the backup is done, you'll be prompted to create a system repair disk (CD/DVD) to access the recovery options if your computer is unable to boot.

How to Restore a System Image Backup of Windows 10

If your computer can boot normally, you can restore the backup image easily.

Open "Settings" > go to "Update & Security" > "Recovery". Click the "Restart now" button in the Advanced startup section. When your computer restarts, go to "Troubleshoot" > "Advanced Options" > "System Image Recovery" and follow the instructions to restore Windows 10 system image you’ve created on the external hard drive.

If your computer can't boot properly, you can do start over a Windows installation by restoring from the previous system backup.

Step 1. Connect the external drive with the system image backup and the system repair disc to your computer.

Step 2. Reboot your computer from the repair disk. You may need to change your system's BIOS settings to make sure it can boot from the CD or DVD drive by hitting "Delete/F2".

Step 3. When the "Windows Setup" appears, click "Next" > "Repair your computer" int the bottom-left corner > "Troubleshoot" > "System Image Recovery" > choose Windows 10.


Step 4. Select the "Use the latest available system image" > "Next".


Step 5. If you want to restore the system image to a new drive, you can also select the "Format and repartition disks" option. (Warning: This operation will erase any existing partitions and disks on your computer.) Then, click "Next" > "Finish "> "Yes" to start the Windows 10 system image recovery from the external hard drive.


Although you can use the system repair disc to help you boot your computer and restore the backup image when it's broken, it's troublesome. Besides, if there is no CD drive on your computer, you can't use the built-in utility for system image recovery. So, in the below section, we will introduce you an easier method to create and restore Windows 10 system image.

How to Create and Restore Windows 10 System Image Without System Repair Disc

Here, we highly recommend you EaseUS Todo Backup, a reliable and professional backup & recovery tool that enables you to back up your system, the whole hard drive or partition, personal data/files and installed applications with simple steps. Besides, you can use this tool to clone HDD to SSD, MBR disk to GPT disk or GPT disk to MBR disk from an old hard disk to a new one or small-size disk to large-size disk. But before you can restore Windows 10 system image from external hard drive, you need do as the following guides.

Step 1. Download EaseUS Todo Backup, install and launch it. Use it to create bootable media on the external hard drive for booting your computer in case your computer can't start normally.

Step 2. Create a Windows 10 system image to the external hard drive with the "system Backup" feature, which will be used to restore the system image from external hard drive later.

Then, you can use this software to restore Windows 10 system image from external hard drive.

When Your Computer Can Boot Properly:

Connect the external hard drive with system image to your computer > launch Todo Backup > click "Recovery" button on the screen > choose the image on the external hard drive > click "Proceed" to start system image recovery.

When Your Computer Can't Boot Correctly:

Step 1. Insert the external hard drive bootable media (with system image) into your computer, press "F8/F2/Delete" consecutively while starting your computer and this will bring you to the BIOS settings. Set the boot drive preference there. Choose the EaseUS Todo Backup bootable USB drive.

Step 2. Then you will see the Todo Backup interface. Click "System Transfer".

click system transfer

Step 3. Select the system image on the external hard drive to restore to the new computer.

choose the system image on the external device

Step 4. Select a location - C drive on your computer to restore Windows 10 system image.

select the location to save your system data

Step 5. Click "Proceed" to restore the system image to your computer. Then, restart your computer.


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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.