How to Back Up the Entire Computer to a Flash Drive

By Art Corvelay

Backing up your data is an extremely important process because all hard drives will, at some point, fail. Using a USB flash drive to back up your your entire computer is only possible if the flash drive has enough free space to fit the contents of your computer's hard drive. If you have a USB drive that can hold the contents of your hard drive, you can use Windows backup and restore utility to aid in the backup process.

Step 1

Turn on your computer and wait for the operating system to load. Once the operating system has loaded, insert the USB flash drive into the USB port of your computer.

Step 2

Open the "Backup and Restore" utility on your computer. Click "Start," "Control Panel," "System and Maintenance," and then "Backup and Restore." Alternatively, you can click the "Start" menu and type "Backup" into the search box to launch "Backup and Restore."

Step 3

Click the "Set up Backup" link on the right side of the screen.

Step 4

Choose a location to save your backup. All of your available drives are listed "Backup Destination" window including your flash drive. Select the flash drive from the list and then click "Next."

Step 5

Select "Let Windows choose (recommended)" when you are presented with the option of what you want to back up. This option creates a system image, which is essentially an exact replica of your computer's hard drive. Click the "Next" button to proceed.

Step 6

Set up a backup schedule. This is not mandatory, but is helpful if you want to regularly back up your system. Click the "Change Schedule" link in the "Review your backup settings" window. Then select how often, what day, and what time you want to schedule your back ups. Click "Ok" to save your settings.

Step 7

Click "Save settings and run backup" in the "Review your backup settings" window. Your computer's hard drive is now backed up onto the flash drive.