How to Fix “The drive is not a valid backup location” Issue in Windows 10/8/7?

Posted by @Teresa

May 14, 2018

Get “the drive is not a valid backup location” warning when you try to backup system C to USB flash drive? Let’s get to know how to solve the problem in Windows 10/8/7.

The drive is not a valid backup location?

USB flash drive is good transport tool in files transferring as well as great backup storage for backup images. Many PC users would like to backup important files to USB drive. Users who pay much attention to file security even back USB stick up via USB auto backup freeware. If the USB drive is large enough to contain Windows operating system, it is not a bad idea to create a system image on it.

However, when you choose USB flash drive as the backup destination hard drive in Windows at the step of “Where do you want to save the backup?” you will see a warning in orange reads: The drive is not a valid backup location. Meaning you cannot create system image on USB drive under Windows OS. This would happen when you use either Windows 7 File Recovery in Windows 8, 8.1 or Windows 7 Backup and Restore in Windows 7, 10.

The drive is not a valid backup location

Causes for invalid backup location error using USB

It is a default limitation that Windows users cannot backup system drive image to USB flash drive, yet backing up files and other data to it is supportive.

Another possible cause would be, in earlier times, hard drives are created in small size, so does to USB flash drives. The sizes of these USB drives are range from 1 GB to 32 GB. Therefore, it is hard and unsecure to place system backup image, up to dozens of GiBs, on flash drive, especially when scheduled system backup set.

However, hard drives are produced larger and larger in recent years, even USB sticks increase up to 128 GB capacity. Thus, covered potential risk would not be an issue any more. Figure out how to create system image on USB in Windows 8.1, 8, 10 and Windows 7 right now.

Fix The drive is not a valid backup location in Windows 10/8/7

1. Backup Windows to larger USB drive

As covered, Windows refuses to backup system to USB stick due to USB storage. Then, one of the solutions is to buy a larger USB flash drive. As tested, the USB drive that has more than 64GB free space can be recognized as backup destination by Windows Backup and Restore utility. As we all know that a USB with 64GB in size does not have 64GB free space at all. Therefore, it is recommended to purchase USB drive with 128GB in size for backup.

2. Backup Windows to USB stick with professional backup software

AOMEI Backupper Professional is reliable and all-around backup and recovery software designed for Windows PC OS. It supports backup Windows system to flash drive, thumb drive, pen drive, and SD card at a regular basis. Full backup, incremental backup and differential backup are available in Backup Options. Its System Backup feature is made with one-click operation, which means it will automatically select System Drive (C drive) and System Reserved Partition for you. 

1. Install and launch AOMEI Backupper. Go Backup and then System Backup.

System Backup

2. Select the USB drive as the destination storage. System drive and its related partition have been selected by default.

Select USB
Open USB

3. Confirm the operation summary. Here you have options to do scheduled system backup in daily, weekly, or monthly by clicking Schedule. Click Start Backup.

Start Backup

Tips:

  • Backup Options: This offers you options to password protect backup image, compression and split backup images.

  • Schedule: This also is the place where you can change backup mode between full backup, incremental backup and differential backup.

  • Scheme: This helps you auto delete old backups when backup image amount overpass the specified value.

It is easy to find that backup Windows system to USB flash drive been settled in few clicks. To fix “The drive is not a valid backup location” error, you can create a partition on the USB drive and then share that partition on the network. Be sure you have permission to that location. Finally, backup Windows to the network drive with Windows Backup and Restore utility. 

After successful backup, you might need to restore system image from USB drive some day when disaster comes. AOMEI Backupper is also professional cloning software that supports cloning bootable USB to hard drive, cloning hard drive with bad sectors, cloning boot drive to SSD, cloning hard drive to Kingston SSD etc. The Standard edition of AOMEI Backupper also supports system backup. What's more, create a bootable rescue media with this utility will save you lots of time and effort when system meltdown.