How to Do a System Backup?

What is System Backup?

System backup refers to back up all the system files, boot files, and program files. Only if backing up both the system and boot files can ensure operating system works normally when restoring the OS next time. If only one of them has been backed up, the operating system may not work normally after system restoring. Therefore, it is necessary for us to know what system partition and boot partition are.

  • System partition: It is the partition that installs the operating system, applications, and saves your personal files. That is the so-called C Drive. System files require relatively more space. For example, the system files of Windows 7 require at least 8 GB.
  • Boot partition: It is the partition that stores boot files, including boot.ini, ntldr, bcd, winload.exe, etc. Boot files require relatively smaller space, generally less than 200MB.

Before the operating system of Windows 7, such as Windows XP, Vista, as well as Windows Server 2003, the system and boot partitions have been combined together. That is to say, boot partition is system partition; system partition is boot partition. In this case, it only requires to backup one partition during system backup. But in Windows 7 and Windows 8, the system partition and boot partition are usually separated. System partition is the C Drive that can be accessed normally; while boot partition is a 200MB or more partition, named "System Reserved Partition". The boot partition usually does not have a drive letter, and usually we can not access this partition or any file on this partition. Therefore, when backing up Windows 7/8/8.1/10 OS, only backing up these two partitions can be called a complete full system backup.

Luckily, free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard has provided specially designed function of "System Backup", which can automatically back up both of these two partitions. Meanwhile, during system restore, it will automatically restore the backed up files to these two partitions as well. It is a one-key operation without backing up and restoring these two partitions respectively.

Why Need System Backup?

Generally speaking, when the operating system has been used for a period of time, most users would face the problem of system crash, as well as many other disk problems that prevent system from using normally. In this case, it is necessary to reinstall operating system. As known to many people, OS reinstallation is time-consuming. It requires at least half an hour at a time. And then it requires about two hours, even longer installing various drivers and applications. Therefore, we would do a complete backup of the system (usually C Drive) after the installations of the operating system and some commonly-used applications.

Many times, in order to avoid OS reinstallation or system problems, we would do a complete full system backup at intervals, be it a new computer or an old one that has been used for two years. Thus, if there is any system problem, the system can be restored to the previous normal state quickly and conveniently by the backed up image file so as to avoid reinstallation of OS and applications.

The software of AOMEI Backupper can back up all the data in the system to an image file. If there is any system problem, we can employ AOMEI Backupper again to restore the operating system via the backed up image file. It can help to save a lot of time.

Notes: before backup, you had better do a system cleaning and delete some useless temporary files. Because the more applications installed on system drive are, the bigger the image file will be, so does the space required by the image file. After system restore, all these useless files will be restored, too. Therefore, it is important to keep the system clean before backup.

System Backup by using AOMEI Backupper

AOMEI backup software provides a one-key function of system backup, which can back up system and boot partitions to an image file conveniently. Meanwhile, it possesses the function of compression to the image file so as to reduce the storage space required by the image file to the largest extent. It also provides advanced level users with the function of incremental backup so as to improve the backup efficiency and further reduce the storage space required by the image file. Here come the detailed operating steps.

Tips: The program files and personal data (like photos, music, documents, etc) in C drive are also backed up along with system backup.

First, download this freeware, install and launch it. Then, click "System Backup" under the "Backup" tab.

System Backup

Second, the "Task Name" can be modified based on personal needs, and the name is helpful for you to distinguish it from other tasks. The system and boot drives have been selected as source partitions by AOMEI Backupper automatically at "Step1".

Start Backup

At "Step2", select a destination path to save the systen image file. An external hard drive, a USB drive, or a CD/DVD can be selected. To select a NAS device or a netword drive, please click "Share/NAS". And then click "Start Backup" to begin the operation.

Backup Location


  • "Backup Options" (optional) can be set based on your own needs. It includes the functions of adding comments for system backup to distinguish from other backups, compressing, encryption and splitting image file etc.
  • "Schedule" is also optional. To make sure your system backup is up-to-date, you can create schedules to backup system automatically.

Schedule System Backup

At last, click "Finish" option to exit. You can tick the box before "Check backup integrity on completion" to make sure the system backup is valid for restore.


In addition, the operations of system backup will not interrupt your work. That is to say, you can do system backup while working. The time for system backup is determined by the amount of the valid data. For example, if your system takes up 16GB, it may cost ten minutes to do system backup. If your system only occupies 3GB, it may just need two minutes to complete the system backup.

How to Do System Restore?

AOMEI Backupper provides different methods for you to restore system backup.

  • If your system crashes or disk fails, you can create a bootable media to restore system backup.
  • If you buy a new computer, you can use "Dissimilar Hardware Restore" using bootable media.
  • If you just want to restore individual files or folders, you can mount the system backup as virtual partitions with "Explore Image".
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