How to Restore Windows 8/8.1 System Image Backup from External Hard Drive?

Posted by @Teresa

October 9, 2017

Learn how to restore a system backup image from external hard drive in Windows 8/8.1 using Windows built-in tool and professional software AOMEI Backupper.

When to restore Windows image backup in Windows 8?

You need to restore backup images in many scenes, for instance, recover lost data or rebuild failed PC. You can re-acquire the familiar environment as long as you have Windows backup image of that OS. If you lost some important data by mistake, you can also recover them using the backup images. In addition, you can restore system image backup in Windows 8/8.1 to refresh your computer when you find it is not effective any more. Besides, backing up Windows 8 using free Windows 8 disk image software first and restore it to another hard drive or SSD later is a good way to upgrade hard drive as well. Other reasons to restore a Windows 8 backup image may come to hacker attack, virus invade etc. Whichever situation you’re in, it is better to learn how to restore an image backup in Windows 8.

How to restore Windows 8 from image backup with built-in tools?

As we know, backup is the basis of recovery. Therefore, to restore Windows 8 you need to first create system image backup for Windows 8. If you place backup image on external hard drive, you may need to restore Windows 8 image backup there. After that, you can create a bootable media, USB or an optical disk using the same software or using Windows 7 File Recovery in Windows 8 in case your PC cannot boot.

Now shut down your PC and connect the storage that contains the system image backup to your PC. Boot it using the bootable device. You will enter into the window to let you “Choose an option”, select “Troubleshoot” here. At next window, choose “Advanced options”, then “System image recovery”. Afterwards, you’ll be prompted to choose an operating system to recover and basically you have only one choice Windows 8. Once you click “Windows 8”, it will enter the recovery wizard and automatically scan the system backup image. Just follow the wizard to finish restoring.

Restoring Windows 8 using this method is fast and easy apparently, yet you still get risk of unsuccessful restoring. For example, you may get the error message reads “An unspecified error occurred during System Restore. (0x80070005)”. Then this is the time when you need to turn to third party software. Professional backup & recovery program like AOMEI Backupper Professional ensures higher success rate in system restoring. With this tool, you can restore Windows 8 from both internal and external hard drive directly. If the target computer fails to boot, you can still create a bootable rescue media via it ahead of time. Download its 30-day free trial to have a try.

How to restore a system image backup in Windows 8 via AOMEI Backupper?

First, install and launch AOMEI Backupper. Add the disk that contains your system image to your PC. Select “Restore” and then click “Path” to manually navigate the backup image if AOMEI Backupper hasn’t detected it. Click “Yes” in the confirmation window.



Second, choose the right “Backup Point” and click “Next”.

Backup Point

Finally, you will see the “Operation Summary”. Click “Start Restore” if nothing goes wrong.

Start Restore

Tips: It will pop out a window to remind you that it will restart your PC for restoring.


Both methods are good solutions to answer the question of how to restore an image backup in Windows 8 from external hard drive. But strictly speaking, AOMEI Backupper Professional saves more time and effort. It has friendlier user-interface and avoids the mess-ups that come with unsuccessful restoring to a greater extent. Furthermore, AOMEI Backupper is a good alternative to File History, which makes file backup easier on your PC. In backup aspect, this tool allows you to incremental backup HDD to external hard drive, more likely, incremental backup system to external drive.