How to Do a System Backup, Back Up System Files & Boot Files?

Posted by @AOMEI

May 23, 2017

As for system crash problem often occurs, free system backup tool - AOMEI Backupper can do some help by backing up operating system to an image file in advance, and restoring it when necessary to avoid reinstallation of OS and some necessary applications.

What is System Backup?

A System Backup involves all of the system files, boot files, and program files. Only backing up both the system and boot files can ensure that the operating system works normally when restoring the operating system. 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 the system partition and the boot partition are.

  • System partition: 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: 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 introduction of the operating system of Windows 7, the earlier operating systems such as Windows XP, Vista, as well as Windows Server 2003, had the system and boot partitions combined together. That is to say, the boot partition was a system partition and the system partition was a boot partition. Because of this, with those earlier operating systems, it was necessary to backup only one partition during system backup. But in Windows 7 and Windows 8, the system partition and boot partition are usually separated. The System partition is the C Drive that can be accessed normally, while the 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 cannot 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.

However, the PC backup software - AOMEI Backupper Professional has provided the specially designed function of "System Backup", which can automatically back up both of these two partitions. In addition, during system restore, it will automatically restore the backed up files to their two respective partitions, It is a one-key operation not needing the backing-up of these two partitions separately.

Why is a Regular System Backup Needed?

The software of AOMEI Backupper can back up all the data in the system drive 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.

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 the system from working normally. In such cases it is necessary to reinstall the 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 can take many hours installing various drivers and applications.

Therefore it can save a lot of time and effort to do a complete backup of the system (usually C Drive) immediately after the installation of a new operating system and some commonly-used applications.

Then it is wise to do a complete full system backup at intervals no matter how old the computer is, because 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.

Tips: 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 backup 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.

The steps of system backup and restore process are as follows:

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

First, download AOMEI Backupper, 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 backup tasks. The system and boot drives have been selected as source partitions automatically by AOMEI Backupper at "Step1".

Start System Backup

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

System 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.

Backup Options

  • "Schedule" is also optional. To make sure your system backup is up-to-date, you can create schedules to backup system automatically.

Schedule Backup

  • "Scheme" enables you to set up rules to delete older backups automatically so that there is enough space on your backup location. This amazing function can be only supported by paid editions.

Backup Scheme

At last, click "Finish" option to exit. You can tick the box before "Check backup integrity on completion" to make sure the system backup image is valid for restore. You also can choose what you need your computer to do after system backup is completed, such as shutdown, restart, etc.

System Backup Progress

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".

  • If you are a system admin or service provider who manage and maintain a large batch of computers, AOMEI Image Deploy enables you to restore system image to multiple computers simultaneously over network.