Windows 11 backup to External Hard Drive

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Backing up your Windows 11 operating system to external drive is essential to safeguard your data and ensure you can recover your system in case of unexpected issues. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore various methods to Windows 11 Backup to External Hard Drive. Each method will be explained step by step to help you choose the one that suits your needs.

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Method 1: Using File History

File History is a built-in feature in Windows 11 that allows you to create regular backups of your files and folders. Here’s how to use it:

Steps 1: Connect the External Hard Drive

Windows 11 backup to External Hard Drive
  • Plug in your external hard drive to an available USB port on your Windows 11 computer.

Steps 2: Access File History Settings

Windows 11
  • Click on the ‘Start’ button and select the gear-shaped ‘Settings’ icon to open Windows 11 Settings.
  • Click on ‘Update & Security’.
Update 7 Security
  • In the left sidebar, select ‘Backup’.

Step 3: Configure File History

  • Under ‘Backup using File History,’ click ‘Add a drive’ and select your external hard drive.
Backup Drive add
  • Turn on File History by toggling the switch under ‘Automatically back up my files’ to ‘On’.

Step 4: Customize Backup Settings

  • Click ‘More options’ under File History.
Backup Options


  • Adjust backup frequency, file versions to keep, and exclude specific folders as needed.
Advance setting Windows 11 backup
Setting Save Change

Step 5: Start the Backup

  • Click at ‘Backup now’ button to initiate the backup process.
  • Monitor the progress in the ‘Backup Options’ window.

Method 2: Using Windows Backup and Restore

You can also use the legacy Windows Backup and Restore feature to create a system image backup. Follow these steps:

Steps 1: Connect the External Hard Drive

  • Plug in your external hard drive to an available USB port on your Windows 11 computer.
Connect External Hard Drive

Steps 2: Open Backup and Restore

  • Type ‘Control panel’ in the Windows search bar and select backup and restore option it from the results.
Control Panel
Backup And Restore Windows 7

Step 3: Create a System Image Backup

  • In left sidebar click ‘Create a system image’ option.
System Images
  • Choose your external hard drives location as backup location.
  • Follow all the on-screen instructions step by step to create a system image backup.

Method 3: Using Third-Party Backup Software

You can also use third-party backup softwares for more flexibility and advanced features. One popular option is Acronis True Image. Here’s how to use it:

Step 1: First Install and then ‘Launch’ Acronis True Image

  • Download and install Acronis True Image on your Windows 11 computer.

Step 2: Create a Backup

  • Open Acronis True Image.
  • Click ‘Backup’ in the left sidebar.
Windows 11 backup
  • Select the files, folders, or the entire system you want to back up.
  • Choose your external hard drive as your backup destination.
  • Configure backup settings, such as schedule and encryption.
Backup save
  • Click at ‘Backup now’ to start the backup process.

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Method 4: Using Windows PowerShell

If you prefer a command-line approach, you can use Windows PowerShell to create a system backup. Here’s how:

Step 1: Open PowerShell as Administrator

  • Type ‘PowerShell’ in your Windows search bar, and then right-click ‘Windows PowerShell’, and after that select ‘Run as administrator’.
Windows Power Shell

Step 2: Run the Backup Command

Enter the following command to create a system image backup:

Replace ‘X:’ with your external hard drive’s name initial letter.

Command Windows
Make File

Step 3: Monitor Backup Progress

PowerShell will execute the backup command. Keep checking the entire progress in the PowerShell window.


Backing up your C drive/Windows 10/Windows 11 to external hard drive is crucial for data protection and recovery. You now have a variety of methods to choose from, each with its own advantages. Select the method that best suits your needs and ensure you regularly update your backups to keep your data safe

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