How to Clone Windows 11 to An External Hard Drive

Disk cloning is usually applied to back up disk/partitions or upgrade hard drives. It keeps all the configuration files and boot data so that users can access or boot the system from a cloned copy. The newly released Windows 11 attract lots of users to upgrade. It's also a wise choice to clone the Windows 11 to an external hard drive as a backup or to use the cloned copy to boot Windows 11 on an unsupported computer.

Updated by Jean on Jul 20, 2023
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Over time, Windows users may discover that their computer is operating slower and may take longer to boot up. Also, they may experience operating system crashes or system failure, and at other times they may discover that their disk has a tiny amount of space left and is marked red. It is displeasing to users to encounter issues like this, but they certainly can't escape it as all hard drives have an expiration date and will eventually die out. How then can this issue be addressed?

Cloning your Windows OS, applications, and vital C drive files to an external USB drive is the fastest way to aid users in resolving most of this issue. They get to boot their PC from the USB when it's dead, install OS on a larger disk, boost computer performance, and also go places with the Windows OS embedded in their pen drive, flash drive, or thumb drive without your PC.

In this article, we examine why it's crucial to clone Windows 11 on an external drive and offer a unique tool to enable users to clone Windows to USB so they can boot their system on different Windows PCs.

Clone Windows 11 to an External Hard Drive

Why Clone Windows 11 to an External Hard Drive

Cloning Windows 11 OS to an external hard drive means creating a replica of the original OS. However, there are various reasons why you need to clone Windows 11 to an external hard drive. The common reasons for engaging in this operation include:

  • Upgrade Obsolete Disk: The performance of your PC may be significantly affected due to the wear and tear of your hard drive. Cloning Windows OS to a new drive allows you to upgrade and restore your hard drive for better system performance.
  • Retaining Backup Copy for System Recovery: The cloned Windows is seen as an essential backup in system malfunctioning. You can directly exchange the hard drive without restoring the disk/system image when your PC runs into some glitches.  
  • Prevents Windows Reinstallation from Scratch: Installing a new Windows OS will automatically delete everything on your computer. But when Windows OS is cloned to an external hard drive, your device drivers, programs, and files are stored exactly in the new drive for easy retrieval.
  • Offers Computer Booting Solution: Cloning Windows 11 on an external drive enables you to boot your computer from the external drive when it's dead or encountering issues. You also get to move about with your operating system in its portable form, which allows you to access your entire files with any computer.

How to Clone Windows 11 to an External Hard Drive

To effectively clone every piece of Windows 11 system data and files to an external hard drive and make sure that it's bootable on other computers, you'll need the help of reliable third-party software. One such is the EaseUS OS2Go capable of ideally cloning Windows operating system drive to an external hard drive.

The EaseUS OS2Go software is characterized by vital features that aid an average Windows user to quickly and efficiently carry out Windows 11 cloning exercises. Some of its exquisite features include; the migration of OS, apps, programs, and files to different HDD, SSD, and USB devices, installation of Windows 11 on incompatible computers, running Windows 11 on various Windows 10, 8, or 7 computers, and operating Windows applications on Mac from any portable USB drive.

To derive an unconstrained Windows 11 cloning process, here are the necessary preparation tasks you need to perform beforehand:

  • Connect the external drive to your PC. You may require a USB-to SATA cable for the cloning process.
  • Examine the disk space of the external hard drive and the system drive. The external drive must be larger than the used space in your system drive. If it is spacious than the source drive, the cloning process won't be successful.
  • Initialize the USB hard drive to GPT or MBR. Ensure it is the same as the system disk.
  • Ensure that all critical files on the external hard drive are backed up, as the cloning process will clear all files in the drive.

Download and install a capable Windows system clone tool such as EaseUS OS2Go.

  Free Download

For Windows 11/10/8/7

Now you can clone Windows 11 by following the below guiding steps:

Step 1. Install EaseUS OS2Go on your Windows computer, it will display your system drive's used space. Plug in a USB drive that is larger than the system drive used space. Choose the target USB drive and click Next to continue.

how to use os2go step 1

Step 2. EaseUS OS2Go will notify you that the following operation would delete all data on your drive. Make sure that you have backed up all the important data. Click the Continue button to proceed.

how to use os2go step 2

Step 3. Adjust disk layout. The default disk layout on the target drive will be exactly the same as the resource drive. You could also edit the layout according to your needs. Tick the option there if you're using a Solid State Drive as the Windows bootable drive. Next, click Proceed.

how to use os2go step 3

Step 4. Then EaseUS OS2Go will start to create the portable USB drive. It usually takes a while depending on your OS and Network condition. When the progress reaches 100%, the USB drive should be bootable now.

how to use os2go step 4

Step 5. Insert the portable Windows USB and start your computer. Press the required key (F2, DEL, F10...) to access BIOS. Choose to boot from the USB disk.

Note: Please make sure that the boot mode (UEFI or Legacy) of the portable USB and your target computer are the same, otherwise you may not be able to boot.

With the following process, you have successfully cloned Windows 11 to an external hard drive and can make use of the drive to boot your computer or access your data on any other Windows computer.


A considerable difference between cloning a hard drive to copying or backups is the ability to boot your computer when it crashes or is dead. You can access your computer details wherever you are as long as you have the cloned Windows 11 drive with you. I recommend installing the EaseUS OS2Go tool to efficiently carry out the cloning exercise and benefit from other exquisite features.

  Free Download

For Windows 11/10/8/7

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EaseUS OS2Go

  • Create portable Windows to USB
  • Copy installed Windows OS to USB
  • Clone Winodws OS drive to USB
  • Run Windows 11 on any PC
  • Run Windows 11 on unsupported PC
  • Run Windows 11/10 on a Mac
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