[Fixed] The Drive is Not a Valid Backup Location on Windows 11/10/8/7

USB flash drive is not a valid backup location for the system image? Here 3 methods are created to help you fix The drive is not a valid backup location in Windows 10/8/8.1/7: create a directory on a USB drive and create a system image on a USB with third-party backup software.

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Tracy King

Updated on Feb 26, 2024

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"Getting error message 'this drive is not a valid backup location' while trying to create a system image to USB flash drive in Windows 10. Is there any way to fix the issue?"

It's a question that was asked by one of the Windows 10 users on the Microsoft Community. Many users who running Windows 8, 7, 10, and 11 have admitted that they suffered the same issue as Windows Backup and Restore feature does not support thumb drives as backup storage.

this drive is not a valid backup location

If you are in the same shoes, don't worry. In this post, we will tell you the causes and offer three working solutions to troubleshoot the problem. 

Why "This Drive Is Not a Valid Backup Location" Issue Appear

The incompatibility between USB and Backup and Restore results in the message "This drive is not a valid backup location," meaning that even though it is possible to backup files and other data to USB drives, the Windows Backup and Restore feature does not recognize USB flash drives or thumb drives as the backup storage destination.

Furthermore, the disk is insufficient for this task because it lacks the space needed to store all the backup data. Furthermore, the drive's dependability and durability are in doubt because they may be vulnerable to malfunctions or damage that jeopardize the integrity of the data it stores. The drive's effectiveness as a backup site is further diminished by the absence of appropriate backup management tools like automatic scheduling or version control. 

No matter for what reason, there are three methods you can try to safely back up your data in order to effectively fix the error: using a different backup tool, switching the location of the backup, or making a directory on the USB. Let's now get into the details of each stage. The Fix 1 is the most effective and well-liked of them all.

Fix 1. Create System Image on USB with a Third-Party Backup Tool - Recommend

Apart from Backup and Restore, there are many alternative backup tools to back up Windows files to a USB. The third-party backup tool is the easiest solution for 'The drive is not a valid backup location' issue. Here, EaseUS Todo Backup is a nice choice. As a professional software, it is the best alternative tool when Windows 10 backup doesn't work properly. It allows you to 

Now you can download and try it to create a system image on your USB flash drive in Windows 10/8/7 or other versions in just 3 simple steps.

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Todo Backup and choose "Create Backup" on the home page, click "Select backup contents".

create system backup step1

Step 2. Among the four available categories, click "OS" to start back up.

create system backup step2

Step 3. The system partition will be automatically selected, you only need to select the location.

create system backup step3

Step 4. Local Drive, Cloud, and NAS are available for you to save the backup file. You can also connect an external hard drive to preserve the system backup files.

create system backup step5

Step 5. You can customize the settings in "Options" at the left bottom. After that, click "Backup Now", and the process will begin.

create system backup step 5

*After finishing the backup process, you can check the backup status, recover, open, or delete the backup by right-clicking the backup task on the left.

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Windows 7 Create System Image USB Not a Valid Backup Location

Do you want to create a system Image using the Windows 7 Backup Restore feature? Is it giving  Image USB Not a Valid Backup Location when using a USB drive? Then follow this post to resolve the problem.

windows 7 create system image usb not a valid backup location

Fix 2. Create A Directory on The USB Drive

Except for a third-party backup tool, you can also try to troubleshoot 'The drive is not a valid backup location' problem by creating a directory on a USB drive. The only disadvantage is that it takes many more steps to manage the job.

1. Format the USB stick with NTFS.
2. Share the USB stick as a network 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.

3. Ensure the advanced share allow permissions are set to full control.
4. Start Windows Backup and select System Image.
5. Select the network drive as your backup location.
6. Browse to your own computer and select the USB share.
7. Enter your computer's login credentials, if your password is blank use 1 space and click OK.

After all the above steps, Windows Backup and Restore will start to create a system image on your USB flash drive and 'The drive is not a valid backup location' error will no longer happen at most times. 

📖Related Article: How to Backup Computer to USB Flash Drive (2 Easy Tips)

Fix 3. Save Backup to an External Hard Drive Rather Than a USB

It would be best if you have an available external hard drive to store backup instead of USB if you insist on using Windows Backup and Restore. By altering the external hard as the backup destination, you can back up your Windows operating system to a USB successfully. Now follow the steps below to create a system image on an external hard drive. Take Windows 11 for example:

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

Step 2. Control Panel - Backup and Restore - System and Security - Backup and Restore(Windows 7).

open backup and restore

Step 3. Click Create a system image.

create a system image

Step 4. In the Where do you want to save the backup window, select the external hard drive as the location, and click Next.

choose external hard drive

Step 5. Choose the drive you want to include in the backup and click Next. After confirming the settings, tap Start backup to perform the task.

choose a drive you want to backup

🚩Read Also: USB Flash Drive vs. External Hard Drive | How to Backup Laptop to External Hard Drive

EaseUS Todo Backup vs. Backup and Restore: Which Is More Suitable for You

After reading the contents above, you must have some knowledge about Windows Backup and EaseUS Todo Backup. Wondering which one to choose to back up your Windows computer? No worries, here we compare two programs in detail and now have a look at them.

#️⃣EaseUS Todo Backup

When it comes to adaptability and customization possibilities, EaseUS Todo Backup excels. It gives users a choice over backup size and frequency by allowing them to create full, incremental, or differential backups. EaseUS Todo Backup also supports a number of file systems, making a variety of USB sticks and external hard drives compatible with it. The software also provides choices for backup encryption, ensuring the security of data that has been backed up.

EaseUS Todo Backup often provides faster backup speeds, particularly when working with bigger data volumes. This can be due to its capacity to make use of intelligent backup and multi-threading technology. On the other hand, because system image backups need a lot of computing power, Windows Backup and Restore could be slower.

#️⃣Windows Backup and Restore

Windows Backup and Restore is a built-in feature of the Windows operating system, providing convenience to users. It has a simple and user-friendly interface that makes it simple for beginners to use and start backup operations. Users can also create system image backups using Windows Backup and Restore, ensuring a complete restoration of the operating system in the event of a system failure. But it doesn't include EaseUS ToDo Backup's sophisticated customization options or encryption capabilities.

In conclusion, Windows Backup and Restore and EaseUS ToDo Backup both offer advantages. 
Because of its versatility, customizability options, and encryption capabilities, EaseUS Todo Backup is ideal for customers who place a high priority on advanced data management and security. 
Users looking for basic backup features built into the Windows operating system will find Windows Backup and Restore to be an intriguing option because it provides convenience, simplicity, and system image backup functionality. 
In the end, the decision between the two is based on the user's particular requirements and preferences.

🎀Further Reading: Windows 11 Backup vs. Windows 10 Backup vs. EaseUS Todo Backup

The Wrap Up

The "The drive is not a valid backup location" issue does cause great inconvenience when you plan to save backups on an external USB. With the fixes mentioned above, we believe you can solve the problem effectively and keep your backups safe.

EaseUS Todo Backup, this professional backup tool ensures that you can back up Windows 11/10/8/7 files or the system to an external hard drive or USB smoothly without any issue. You should never miss it. Download and try it now.

EaseUS Todo Backup

EaseUS Todo Backup is a dependable and professional data backup solution capable of backing up files, folders, drives, APP data and creating a system image. It also makes it easy to clone HDD/SSD, transfer the system to different hardware, and create bootable WinPE bootable disks.

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    Larissa has rich experience in writing technical articles and is now a professional editor at EaseUS. She is good at writing articles about data recovery, disk cloning, disk partitioning, data backup, and other related knowledge. Her detailed and ultimate guides help users find effective solutions to their problems. She is fond of traveling, reading, and riding in her spare time.…
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  • Written by

    Tracy King

    Tracy became a member of the EaseUS content team in 2013. Being a technical writer for over 10 years, she is enthusiastic about sharing tips to assist readers in resolving complex issues in disk management, file transfer, PC & Mac performance optimization, etc., like an expert.…
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