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How to Backup Data from Hard Drive without OS in 3 Ways

Updated by Larissa on Sep 19, 2022

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Windows OS Corrupted? You Need to Back Up Hard Drive

When your Windows operating system is corrupted and can't boot anymore, you may need to format the internal hard drive and reinstall the OS to make your computer work again. However, before you take this measure, you need to back up the data stored on the hard drive because formatting means all data will be erased from the hard drive.

But with a corrupted operating system; how can you backup data from the hard drive?

Fortunately, there are still some ways that you can use to backup data from hard drive without OS. This article will show you three of the most effective methods.

3 Working Ways to Backup Data from Hard Drive without OS

Method 1. Create Emergency Disk with Backup Software

Method 2. Using Another Working PC to Read and Backup Hard Disk

Method 3. Use A Live CD or USB drive

Method 1. Create Emergency Disk with Backup Software

The first solution is related to a third-party tool, EaseUS Todo Backup, which can easily back up a problematic internal hard disk to an external hard drive without OS working. 

EaseUS Todo Backup, a professional backup and restore utility, can create a backup of your hard disk even if the Windows operating system isn't booting on.

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The rationale for using this method is to burn a Windows PE image on an empty USB to create a bootable disc. Then, boot your computer from the bootable disk and apply EaseUS Todo Backup to back up data on your computer.

Notice:
You should prepare the following tools to finish the backup: An external hard drive with enough storage space to save backups, an available USB flash, and another working Windows computer. Then download EaseUS Todo Backup to start the backup process.

Here is the step-by-step guide:

* The following backup procedure requires another working computer to create an emergency disk of EaseUS Todo Backup. You'll need to boot your unbootable computer through this emergency disk to make a full backup.

Step 1. To make an EaseUS Todo Backup emergency disk, you need a USB flash drive and connect it to a working computer. Launch EaseUS Todo Backup, click "Tools" and then click "Create Emergency Disk".

click tools and create emergency disk

Step 2. Switch to the USB option when choose a boot disk location, and then click Create.

create a USB emergency disk of easeus todo backup

Step 3. When it's done, insert this emergency disk to the computer that needs backing up. Restart the PC, and Press F2/DEL to enter BIOS. Change the boot sequence, and then start the computer and run EaseUS backup software from the bootable disk.

Step 4. Access the option of Select backup contents and then choose the Disk backup mode. Here, select the computer hard drive(s) to make a full backup.

backup hard drive on a unbootable computer

Step 5. Select a destination to save your backup file. It's recommended to save the backup file to external storage media.

choose a location to save backup

Step 5. Click "Backup Now" to execute your operation.

Method 2. Using Another Working PC to Read and Backup Hard Disk

The second solution is to ask for help from another working computer. If you have another accessible PC, you can connect the problem drive to it as an external hard drive, and backup data from the problem hard drive by copying and pasting. Here are the detailed steps:

backup data from hard drive without OS

Step 1. Connect the corrupted internal hard drive to a working PC via a USB-to-SATA cable or USB-to-IDE/EIDE cable.

Step 2. Wait for the working computer to recognize the problem hard drive and then open it to check the files stored on the drive.

Step 3. Copy all needed files from the problem hard drive to a safe location on the working PC. 

Tip
You can also use Windows Built-in Backup and Restore(Windows 7) feature to create hard drive backups.

Method 3. Use A Live CD or USB drive

The third way to back up data from a hard drive without an operating system is to use a live CD or USB drive. A live CD is an operating system that you can boot from a CD or USB drive. This means that you can use the live CD to access your hard drive and copy files to another location, such as an external hard drive.

There are a number of different live CDs you can use, including:

  • Ubuntu Live CD: https://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop
  • Fedora Live CD: https://getfedora.org/en/workstation/download/
  • Debian Live CD: https://www.debian.org/CD/live/

To use a live CD to backup data from a hard drive without an operating system, you will need to:

Step 1. Download the live CD image from the website of the distribution you want to use.

Step 2. Burn the image to a blank CD or USB drive.

Step 3. Boot your computer from the live CD or USB drive.

Step 4. Copy your data to another location, such as an external hard drive.

The Wrapping Up

These are three ways that you can use to backup data from a hard drive without OS. When the hard drive backup is created, you can format your drive and reinstall Windows OS.

The second and third methods are both one-time and throwaway solutions to the hard disk backup problem. If you are looking for a long-term solution, you should use a backup program like EaseUS Todo Backup to back up data from your hard drive on a regular basis. 

EaseUS Todo Backup supports different types of backup, like full backup, differential backup, and incremental backup. It can back up disks, partitions, files, folders, and even the whole system. What's more, it enables you to clone hard drive to SSD/HDD in Windows 11/10/8/7 with ease. So why not have a try?

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FAQ about Backup Data from Hard Drive without OS

1. How do I access my hard drive without an operating system?

All three ways mentioned above can help you access your hard drive without an operating system. Using EaseUS Todo backup, you can quickly back up your hard drive with simple steps. As for the detailed operation process, please refer to the article.

2. Can I back up a hard drive from BIOS?

BIOS can help you detect the hard drive and other devices attached to the computer. However, it cannot back up data from the hard drive. In order to backup files from the hard drive, you need to use professional backup software like EaseUS Todo backup. Or, use a Live CD and another working PC.

3. How can I recover data from an external hard drive without software?

If you want to recover data from an external hard drive without any backup software, you need to use a Live CD or ask for help from another working computer. Then connect the external hard drive to the computer and copy files stored on it to another location.

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Updated by Larissa

Larissa has rich experience in writing technical articles. After joining EaseUS, she frantically learned about data recovery, disk partitioning, data backup, and other related knowledge. Now she is able to master the relevant content proficiently and write effective step-by-step guides on computer issues.

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Product Reviews

TrustScore 4.7 | 47 reviews
  • Taking everything into consideration, we can say that EaseUS Todo Backup Home can offer you a little extra sense of security with a set of advanced tools. The interface provides quick adaptation, every process guiding you all the way through so you don't get stuck or further damage your system rather than keeping it safe.

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  • EaseUS Todo Backup Free lets you create backups of your important files or your entire computer through its streamlined interface. Just choose the backup type you'd like to get started, and let the program do the reset.

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  • EaseUS includes all the features I expect from backup software like versioning, incremental backups, and scheduling. For more advanced users, EaseUS allows you to install a pre-boot environment onto your hard drive so you can use it to restore files without burning a CD or putting it on an external USB drive.

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