Do I need to backup my C drive? Is it possible to backup C drive? How do I backup my entire C drive or how do I backup only C drive in Windows 10/11? In this post, you can find the corresponding answers to these questions replied by MiniTool .

Do I Need to Backup My C Drive Windows 11/10

C drive is the system drive of the Windows operating system that is used to store much information including PC settings, system files, log records, registries, applications, and their related files, temporary files, and more. Sometimes, some downloaded files are saved to C drive by default (the folder is called Downloads).

C drive is very important but it is often a target of viruses and malicious programs. Besides, system issues always crop up, even leading to an unbootable system. If you don’t backup C drive, you can only choose to reinstall the operating system and applications once accidents appear like system breakdown or virus attacks, which is troublesome and time-consuming. Besides, some important data stored in this drive turns lost.

Thus, if you have a backup of C drive, you can directly use the backup to revert the PC to its normal state in case of PC accidents, which could reduce downtime.

Why Backup C Drive to External Hard Drive

Backing up C drive to an external hard is a good option. On the one hand, an external disk is easy to use and portable so you can connect it to your PC for recovery no matter C drive is safe or not. After finishing, you can disconnect the drive and data won’t be affected by the computer.

On the other hand, external hard drives are affordable and don’t rely on a network connection, which draws your attention to choosing the local backup method to protect data.

Well then, how to backup C drive to external hard drive? Besides, if you have a laptop with one C drive for storage, how should you backup a file? Move to the next part and you can find many details on system backup (C drive) as well as file (on C drive) backup.

Related post: How to Back up Windows to Safeguard Your Computer? Try MiniTool

How to Backup C Drive Windows 10/11 to External Hard Drive (3 Ways)

Check If Your PC Has Hidden System Partitions

Sometimes, there is not just an only C drive on your PC and a system reserved partition or EFI system partition may exist. These partitions are hidden and there is no drive letter. To ensure Windows can boot from the system backup, you need to back up all the system-related partitions.

Before Windows 7, the system partition and boot partition is the same and the drive is signed for C. Since Windows 7, the boot partition C and system partitions like System Reserved Partition , EFI System Partition, Recovery Partition, etc. (it is hidden, no drive letter) are created separately during the Windows setup process.

Just right-click on the Start icon and choose Disk Management to open DM. Then, you can see if there are some hidden partitions. If yes, back up C drive and all the system partitions. If there is only a C drive, backing up C drive is enough.

C drive and other system partitions

To create a system backup, you shouldn’t copy and paste all the files and folders from C to another drive since this cannot ensure Windows is bootable. Just follow one way below to backup your system.

Backup Entire C Drive via Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

If you are running a Windows 11/10 PC, you can backup the entire system via the inbuilt backup tool called Backup and Restore (Windows 7). It is designed to create a system image for the operating system and set up file backup.

Here is the step-by-step guide on how to backup C drive Windows 11/10 using this backup tool:

Step 1: Access Backup and Restore (Windows 7) in this way: go to type control panel into the Windows search and click the result to open this app. Then, view all the items by large icons and tap on Backup and Restore (Windows 7) .

Step 2: Click Create a system image from the left pane.

Windows create a system image

Step 3: In the popup, choose the external hard drive that has been connected to your computer from the drop-down menu.

If you connect a USB drive to the PC, you cannot choose it as the target drive of system image backup and a warning will appear saying the drive is not a valid backup location . If you backup files on C drive to a USB drive via the Set up backup feature, it is allowed.

Step 4: In the new window, C drive and all the system-related partitions will be selected by default. Click Next to continue.

EFI system partition, C drive and Recovery Partition or System Reserved Partition and C drive may be chosen.