It is a good option to back up SSD in Windows 11/10 to an HDD or external hard drive if you use a solid-state drive on your PC. From this post on MiniTool, you can find the reasons, as well as how to perform SSD backup in 3 ways.

Nowadays most users who want to optimize their PC’s efficiency and responsiveness use an SSD to install Windows operating system and apps due to its excellent read & write speed and performance.

In addition to this, they use a mechanical hard disk (HDD) to store large files or keep data that is not routinely used. This is because an HDD has more storage space than a solid-state drive at the same price. This data storage layout could be a good choice when considering the importance of PC performance. You may also run Windows 11/10 on an SSD and use an HDD as an external hard drive to store an amount of data.

For more details on the difference between an SSD and an HDD, refer to our previous post - SSD VS HDD: What’s Difference? Which One Should You Use in PC.

Given that data security, you need to back up SSD and an external HDD is a good path to save the backup image files.

Why Backup SSD to HDD/External Hard Drive

In general, you can find some benefits of backing up SSD to HDD:

  • Data protection: You can create copies of important files to keep your data safe by backing up an SSD to an external hard drive. Once data is lost or deleted due to virus/malware attacks, device malfunction, mistaken operations, etc., you can retrieve files from an external HDD.
  • Reduce downtime: In addition to data backup, you can also back up the operating system on an SSD to an HDD. In case Windows crashes, you can easily restore the system from an external hard drive, which reduces the downtime.
  • Save storage space: Compared to a solid-state drive, an external hard drive offers larger storage, making it an ideal choice to store extensive data and free up essential space on your primary disk.
  • Portability: An external hard drive is easy to carry. And you can easily access backup data from many computers, making sure you have a copy of your critical data on hand.

Then, you wonder “how to backup SSD Windows 11/10”. 3 Options are for you and just find a proper way to start.

3 Options to Backup SSD to External Hard Drive/HDD

To create SSD backups (image backup) on an external hard drive (HDD), you can use two tools – Windows built-in Backup and Restore and a third-party software like MiniTool ShadowMaker.  In addition, you can back up SSD to another SSD or HDD via cloning for disk backup, letting you easily replace your SSD when it goes wrong to reduce downtime.

Let’s see three options below:

  • Create an image backup of a solid-state drive with MiniTool ShadowMaker
  • Run MiniTool ShadowMaker to Clone SSD to SSD/HDD/External Hard Drive
  • Use Windows Backup and Restore

Way 1: Use MiniTool ShadowMaker to Create a Backup Image of SSD

MiniTool ShadowMaker, an excellent and versatile PC backup software, has been released to users for several years. It offers a powerful backup and recovery solution for Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7, enabling you to effectively backup files, folders, disks, partitions, and Windows. Besides, it also supports file sync and disk cloning.

To back up SSDs, MiniTool ShadowMaker allows you to make some advanced backup options:

  1. Automatic backup SSD: You can set a scheduled backup plan under its Schedule Settings window. And then this software will automatically perform the task at the configured time point, which protects disk data well.
  2. Various backup types: In addition to full backup, MiniTool ShadowMaker also supports incremental and differential backup. That is to say, you can create backups for the only newly added files to save disk space and time. At the same, you can choose a backup scheme to delete some old backups, freeing up some space.
  3. Multiple backup targets: You can save your backup images to a hard drive, USB flash drive, a shared folder, etc.
  4. Encrypted and compressed backup: During the backup, the backup files are compressed to an image file, which uses little space. You can enable password protection for the image.

So, how to backup SSD to HDD or how to back up SSD to external hard drive? Follow the steps:

Step 1: Download and install MiniTool ShadowMaker on your PC.

MiniTool ShadowMaker TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step 2: Connect your external hard drive or HDD to the computer and then run this free backup software.

Step 3: After clicking Keep Trial to enter its main interface, go to Backup > SOURCE. If you want to create a disk backup of the SSD, click Disk and Partitions, select a disk, check all the partitions, and click OK.

How to Backup Hard Drive (Internal/External) to Another Disk
How to Backup Hard Drive (Internal/External) to Another Disk

How to backup hard drive/external hard drive to another disk in Windows 10/11? Read this post to find some details on hard drive backup.

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If you only decide to back up SSD files, click Folders and Files, access the computer, check all the files or folders you want to protect, and tap on OK.

choose backup source SSD

Step 4: Click DESTINATION, go to Computer, and choose your HDD/external hard drive to save the backup images.

choose an external drive HDD

Step 5: If you care about “automatic backup SSD”, do extra operations:

  • Click Options under Backup, click Schedule Settings, and switch it to On.
  • Four options for you to choose from: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and On Event. Choose one as per your needs and set a time point.
automatic backup SSD
If you need to create multiple backups at regular intervals, you can set a backup scheme to delete old backups to free up some disk space. Click Backup Scheme, enable this feature, and choose Incremental or Differential.
How to Delete Backup Files in Windows 10/8/7 Easily (2 Cases)
How to Delete Backup Files in Windows 10/8/7 Easily (2 Cases)

How to delete backup files in Windows 10/8/7 when your backup disk is full? Here are ways to remove Windows backup files on 2 aspects.

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Step 6: Click Back Up Now to execute the SSD backup. At the set time point, this software will automatically back up your SSD data to an external hard drive/HDD.

Way 2: How to Backup SSD to Another SSD/HDD via Disk Cloning

In addition to image backup, you can try another reliable and efficient way to back up SSD. And it is cloning the SSD since the cloned hard drive is bootable and can be used to replace the original solid-state drive when it suffers from a damage or failure, without affecting the use of your PC.

If you wonder about details on the difference between image backup and cloning, see our previous post - Clone vs Image: What Are the Differences? Which One to Choose.

MiniTool ShadowMaker also comes with a cloning feature, supporting cloning HDD to SSD and enabling you to clone SSD to larger SSD/HDD. By creating an exact copy of your SSD, you can store it on an external hard drive for keeping properly. Note that the target HDD/SSD/external hard drive should have enough disk space to save all the SSD data.

Get MiniTool ShadowMaker for SSD cloning now.

MiniTool ShadowMaker TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

If your SSD includes the Windows operating system, you need to register this software since system disk cloning is paid. You can use Trial Edition and register it before the last cloning step.

See how to back up SSD Windows 11/10 via disk cloning:

Step 1: Connect another SSD or a new HDD/external hard drive to your PC and launch MIniTool ShadowMaker.

Step 2: Click Tools from the left side and tap on Clone Disk to continue.

backup SSD via cloning

Step 3: By default, this SSD cloning software uses a new disk ID, which can make sure the cloned hard drive is bootable. Besides, it chooses Used sector clone as the clone method. If you want to make sector by sector cloning, MiniTool ShadowMaker supports it and you should check the option of Sector by sector clone.

Step 4: To clone SSD, choose the SSD as the source disk and select an HDD/external hard drive or another SSD as the target disk. Then, click Start. You need to register this software and just do it, then the cloning process begins.

That’s all the information on how to back up SSD to external hard drive/HDD in Windows 11/10 using MiniTool ShadowMaker (create an image of SSD and make an exact copy of SSD). Don’t hesitate to get this powerful and comprehensive SSD backup software for a try.

MiniTool ShadowMaker TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Also read: How to Clone a Hard Drive to SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7

Way 3. Back up SSD with Windows Backup and Restore

When it comes to “how to backup SSD Windows 10/11” or “how to backup SSD to HDD/external hard drive”, the Windows built-in backup tool called Backup and Restore (Windows 7) is also an option. It enables you to create a system image and back up & restore your files.

Follow the steps here to back up your SSD:

Step 1: Connect your external hard drive/HDD to the computer.

Step 2: Open Control Panel via the search bar, view all the items by Large icons, and click Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Step 3: To back up the system installed on an SSD, click Create a system image.

create a system image

Step 4: Choose a drive on an external hard drive/HDD to save the backup.

Step 5: By default, the partitions required for Windows to run are included in the backup. To back up the entire SSD, also choose its other partitions.

Step 6: Confirm the backup settings and start the SSD backup.

If you want to back up SSD data to an external HDD with Backup and Restore, use these steps:

1. Click Set up backup to continue.

2. Choose the external drive to save your file backup.

3. Check Let me choose and then choose the folders you want to back up.

let me choose

4. After reviewing the backup settings, click Save settings and run backup.

By default, this Windows backup tool automatically backs up your files at 19:00 every Sunday. You can click Change schedule to reset a time point (Daily, Weekly & Monthly).

Comparison: MiniTool ShadowMaker VS Backup and Restore

For SSD backup, MiniTool ShadowMaker is highly recommended as it offers many powerful features, enabling you to easily and effectively back up SSD to an external hard drive/HDD. Image backup and disk cloning are both supported, and automatic, incremental & differential backup can be created by this software.

MiniTool ShadowMaker TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Although Windows Backup and Restore also supports creating a system image and backing up files, its features are limited and sometimes it goes wrong.

In my case, I have two hard drives and each one includes an operating system. It chooses all my system partitions to back up but I only want to back up the current OS. Besides, for data backup, it chooses all the folders but all the individual files included in the folders are not selected when expanding each folder to check in the What do you want to back up interface.

Wrap Things up

How to back up your SSD? You can choose to create an image backup of the SSD using MiniTool ShadowMaker & Backup and Restore and save the image file to an external HDD. Or, cloning SSD to HDD/SSD is an ideal option using MiniTool ShadowMaker. Follow the above steps to easily back up an SSD now.

Back up SSD FAQ

Are portable SSDs worth it?
A portable SSD is worth paying if you don’t need TB of storage and often travel with your disk. This is because such an SSD also offers much faster reading and writing speed when dealing with lots of data.
Can I use an external SSD for backup?
Of course, you can back up your important data and save it to an external SSD.
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