Can I copy Windows operating system to a USB drive? How to copy operating system to flash drive? Of course, you can copy Windows 11/10 to USB. From this post, you can find 2 ways offered by MiniTool to do this task. Now, let’s look over them.

Why Copy Windows 11/10 to USB

PC data is very important in the information era and you may have a habit of backing up crucial files or even the Windows operating system on your laptop or desktop. Once an accident happens, if you own a backup, you can revert lost data or restore the PC to an earlier state without reinstalling OS.

In terms of the backup destination, USB flash drives are popular since they are portable and easy to use. You can choose to copy Windows operating system like Windows 10 or Windows 11 to USB, without worrying about hard drive failure. You can carry the USB drive anywhere.

Well then, how to copy operating system to USB? Move to the next part to find possible ways.

Back up Windows 10 to USB Drive: Two Simple Ways Are Here!
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This post shows you how to easily back up Windows 10 to USB drive: create system image on USB and create a Windows 10 recovery drive.

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How to Copy Operating System to Flash Drive

When it comes to how to copy Windows 10 to USB or how to copy Windows from laptop to USB, many online guides recommend using Windows To Go. This feature has been removed in Windows 10 2004 and higher. Besides, a special type of USB drive is supported by this feature.

To easily copy operating system to USB flash drive, two alternative solutions are offered – back up the Windows operating system & clone Windows to a flash drive.

How to Copy Windows from PC to USB via System Backup

When mentioning how to back up Windows 10/11 to a USB flash drive, you may think of the built-in backup tool – Backup and Restore (Windows 7). It can help you to create a system image easily. However, when choosing a USB drive as the destination, you will get an error saying the drive is not a valid backup location . You cannot continue the backup. Although you use a big USB drive, you still get this error message.

To copy Windows operating system to USB via system backup, you can choose to use a piece of professional third-party backup software and MiniTool ShadowMaker could be the one you should try. It can function well on Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7 to help you back up the system, data, partition, and disk. No matter which USB drive you use, this software supports it as long as the drive is detected by the PC. Via differential or incremental backups, you can save disk space on the USB drive.

How to copy operating system to flash drive using the backup feature of MiniTool ShadowMaker?

Step 1: Get the installer of this software and install it on your PC.

Free Download

Step 2: Connect your USB drive to the PC. Make sure this USB drive is larger than the Windows system. Then, launch this program and click Keep Trial to continue.

Step 3: Under the Backup page, you see the current operating system is selected as the backup source. To continue, click DESTINATION and choose the USB drive as the target.

Step 4: Click the Back Up Now button to start the system image. After some time, your operating system is copied to the USB flash drive.

back up Windows to USB

Next, you can choose to add the MiniTool recovery environment to your start menu by going to Tools > Add Boot Menu . In case of system accidents, you can directly boot to the recovery environment without a disc or drive and then restore the system to a previous state from the USB drive with a system backup image file.

If you use the target USB (the backup file included) to restore Windows on another PC with dissimilar hardware, you need to run Universal Restore to fix the incompatibility issue. See this post - How Can You Do Windows Backup Restore to Different Computer to know more details.

How to Copy Windows 11/10 to USB via Cloning

In addition to system backup, you can copy operating system to USB via the cloning method. After finishing the process, the target USB flash drive is bootable. That is, you can directly boot the PC from the USB and go to access the data that you need when accidents appear.

If you want to migrate the only system to your USB drive, you can choose to use MiniTool Partition Wizard. To handle the system disk, you need to use its paid edition. This post - Easily Migrate Windows 10 to SSD Without Reinstalling OS Now shows you how to copy operating system to flash drive via system migration.

In addition, you can run MiniTool ShadowMaker. This tool offers a free feature called Clone Disk to clone hard drive to flash drive. All the partitions including the system and data on the hard drive will be cloned. It is free to use.

Free Download

Step 1: Launch MiniTool ShadowMaker and click Keep Trial .

Step 2: Go to click Clone Disk from the Tools tab.

MiniTool ShadowMaker clone disk

Step 3: Choose the system disk as the source disk and the USB flash drive as the target disk. Then, start the cloning process. After that, your entire system disk is copied to your USB drive.

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How to copy operating system to flash drive, how to copy Windows 11 to USB, or how to copy Windows 10 to USB? After reading this post, you know two methods – system backup and cloning. Just choose one based on your needs.

If you find any other useful methods to copy operating system to USB, leave a comment below to let us know. Of course, any questions regarding MiniTool software, also tell us.

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