what are the steps in carrying out an exact data backup from a 16GB USB flash drive to a 1TB USB hard drive?

Posted on 2013-06-11
Last Modified: 2016-06-26
Hi Everyone,

           I have a 16GB USB flash drive which contains a backup of my Windows 8 installation DVD among other important programs.  Considering the importance of what is backed up on it, I am interested in carrying out an exact backup of its contents to a Western Digital 1TB USB hard drive.  With data files such as jpegs, mp3's. avi's, etc, I have been using a simple copy and paste method which did not require the use of any 3rd party backup/restore utility.  However, I am not sure if such steps would be enough if the flash drive has actual installation software such as Windows 8, Microsoft Office 2013, etc. on it.  

            The operating system on the computer which I will be using has Windows 7 Ultimate, 64-bit on it.  The USB port version is 2.0 just in case that information is needed.  If more details are needed regarding the goal at hand, please feel free to let me know and I will furnish it upon request.  

            Thanks so much in advance for any shared insights or suggestions given to this question.  

Question by:GMartin
LVL 13

Accepted Solution

Norm Dickinson earned 300 total points
Comment Utility
File copy is all you will need if you just have files and folders used for installing software - but if the operating system is actually installed on the flash drive - to make it bootable into the operating system - you will want to use the Windows backup utility. Launch Windows and go to Start, All Programs, Maintenance, Backup and Restore. Click Create a System Image from the left column and follow the steps to make an image onto the USB hard drive or onto blank DVD discs. I highly recommend creating a system repair disc while you are there as well.
There are a lot of other commercial programs which can also be used for a backup, and often external hard drives and flash drives come bundled with backup software or it is available on the manufacturer's website for free.
LVL 70

Assisted Solution

garycase earned 200 total points
Comment Utility
Hi George,

If you simply have ISO images of the installation media, you can just copy them as usual.   If you used the USB flash drive as the target for a Windows backup using the built-in Windows backup/imaging utility, then you can still just copy the entire folder, but you need to first set your View options so all of the system and hidden files will be copied.   In Windows Explorer click on Organize, then Folder & Search options, then View ... and check the "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" box, and uncheck the "Hide protected operating system file" box.

Then you can simply select the entire contents of the drive and copy it to a folder on the hard disk (perhaps called FlashBackup).

... don't forget to set the view options back to the way you like them when you're done.

Author Comment

Comment Utility
Hi Everyone,

             Thanks so much for the shared input given to this question.  After looking closer at my needs, it appears the Backup/Restore option within Maintenance will be the best suited option  within this situation.  I say this because the flash drive itself is bootable if the first boot device within the BIOS is set to USB.  If the BIOS is configured in this manner, a fresh installation of Windows 8 commences.  With that point in mind, the Windows backup utility should work out just fine here with respect to the goal of backing up the entire contents of this USB flash drive containing Windows 8 among other software titles.  

             If I should have further questions or concerns, I will report back within a new post.  Once again, many thanks for the help given to this question.  


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