Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Bootable backup on usb

  1. #1

    Bootable backup on usb

    A week ago or so I had a machine failure. I had all the documents saved.
    It took me quite a long time to get me up and running on another machine. At the moment I'm interested in finding out if there is a possibility to backup/clone a finished installed system to a usb(bootable) drive.

    In case of failure of a machine a bootable usb drive would give the option of continuing the basic work. At least you could instantly communicate with clients and so on till the new machine is installed. My Mac friend uses Superduper.
    What are the options in Windows 8? What 3party programs would be capable to do that?
    Any ideas

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  2. #2

    Posts : 2,191
    Windows 8.1

    I'm interested in finding out if there is a possibility to backup/clone a finished installed system to a usb (bootable) drive.
    Yes, you can do that with Macrium Reflect free (minus the bootable part). However, this would allow you to restore the enitre OS (eg, backup image) to a state when the image was initially created:

    Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download

    If you decide to use it on a USB stick, you'll want to select the Image Backup option. Do not use the Clone option. You will also be required to create either a Macrium USB Recovery Drive or Recovery DVD to boot from when attempting to restore the image you have save on your other USB stick.

    Just be aware that you may require a large USB drive to store the image; however, Macrium does use compression, but it is always good to assume that if you aer backing up a 30GB image, you should have (at least) a 32GB USB stick. Good luck.


    FYI, the new system imaging function in 8.1 has a flaw and may not work well for you so I wouldn't even consider that option unless you have a Legacy (eg, non-UEFI) installation.
    Last edited by my2cents; 03 Nov 2013 at 04:30.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Posts : 2,191
    Windows 8.1

    Also, this might be a perfect solution for you; however, this feature is only available in Windows 8.1 Enterprise:

    Windows To Go: Feature Overview
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  4. #4

    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center

    I agree.

    Even if you need a 64 GB usb, it is WELL worth the money to buy one.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,374
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10

    Hi there
    another alternative - if you have any of the older 120GB SSD's spare then these make EXCELLENT Windows to go systems -- download the ENTERPRISE TRIAL (90 day free) -- it's actually a mystery to me why this isn't included in W8.1 pro - even as an additional charge feature - many FREE LANCE people who don't have access to enterprise versions would like this feature.

    If you don't create a windows to go system just create say a 1GB partition for the OS (Macrium / etc bootable media) and use the other partition to store the backup --really fast on an SSD - even if it's plugged in to a USB2 port.

    People forget - but you CAN create more than none partition on USB drives and sticks

    If you only want the bootable OS - just use any old stick - even a 1GB one should be good enough - then you can read your recovery from any network / other external drive too.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    Thanks guys/ladies
    So, out of your answers is my conclusion that there is no option of creating a bootable usb drive, full stop? It would've been to good having a usb 3 with ssd and a OS ready for failure. Documents are easy to backup and restore.
    My OS is the pro version so WindowsTo Go is also not an option. The WTG is not an OS with installed programs, it is the basic OS, isn't it?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7

    Posts : 5,357
    7/8/ubuntu/Linux Deepin

    It is quite easy to do.

    The only snag is the efi insistence on the old fashioned FAT filesystem limiting the file size you can store.

    You can easily put a bootable wim file on usb, boot that up and restore an image you have on the same usb stick.
    In principle, it is the same as having windows installation files on usb. There is a bootable wim which loads into ram , you run setup from there and it extracts the files from install.wim onto your chosen partition.

    You should be able to do the same with any decent 3rd party imaging program, tho if you are using FAT filesystem, you need to split the backup image into 4gb chunks - they will all do that for you.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8

    Posts : 5,357
    7/8/ubuntu/Linux Deepin


    If you are using Aomei free: Free Download AOMEI Backupper: Windows Backup & Cloning Software

    It will create bootable winpe .iso file for you. For efi boot, format your usb FAT 32, then extract the aomei iso onto the stick.

    Create your Aomei image ( select split size under options). Then copy those image files onto your usb stick. That will be quite a few gb so may take a while to copy.

    Boot it up. Aomei appears, browse to your image files on the usb and restore.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9

    Posts : 5,357
    7/8/ubuntu/Linux Deepin

    If you want to run windows directly from a usb, you can't do it very easily, unless you have windows to go, and there are several limitatations with that. Linux you can, no problems with that.

    Probabaly best to do an image type thing, it should only take minutes to restore and get you back up and running.

    [ The other possibility is complicated, it involves making winpe with a lot of functions included, but it would take years to explain how to do that. I have made excellent pe for win7 and even 8.0 ( with some replacement code -thanks to Tihiy ).
    Noboby has yet made a successful one from 8.1. The metro disease has spread.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10

    Quote Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
    Probabaly best to do an image type thing, it should only take minutes to restore and get you back up and running.
    I'll need some time to digest all that.
    The only 'disadvantage' of the restore an image might be hardware compatibility with a new machine which could be avoided by having a temporarily working setup on a usb.
    Looks like image has to be the way ?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Bootable backup on usb

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