How to Backup Data without Booting Windows 10?

Data backup is critical to safeguard your important files against data loss, which is inevitable and may happen due to various hardware or software related errors. You can use a Windows backup utility or third party tool to create system backup on a local external storage or cloud storage. Further, you can choose to create an automatic or manual full, incremental, or differential backup depending on your needs and the importance of data.

Most importantly, anyone can easily create backups and should create a few while one has access to their system or drive volume(s) that contains important files. When a system fails to boot due to some hardware or software failure, it becomes difficult to restore the data in the absence of the backup.

And this may lead to a data disaster and permanent data loss situation.

However, if you follow this guide, you will be able to back up data without booting into Windows PC and from a Windows system that won’t boot or fails to boot.

Steps to Backup Data without Booting Windows

1. Use a Windows Repair/Installation Disc or USB Media

Insert Windows installation or repair disc into your PC. If you don’t have one, use Windows Media Creation tool to create a USB Windows installer media.

Then boot your PC from the Windows Repair/Installation media and take backup by following these steps:

  • Connect an external hard drive to your PC where you want to save the backup.
  • To boot from external media, press power bottom and immediately start pressing boot option key, usually F12 (refer to your hardware manufacturer’s support site).

boot from external media

  •  Connect an external hard drive to your PC where you want to save the backup.
  • Now on the screen, press Shift+F10 to open a command prompt window. If it doesn’t open, click ‘Next’.

Windows SetUP

  • Then click ‘Repair your computer’ at the bottom left.

Repair your computer

  • Go to ‘Troubleshoot>Advanced Options>Command Prompt.’

TROUBLESHOOT

troubleshoots

Advance option

  • Type command exe and press ‘Enter’. This opens the File Explorer browser window.
  • Now navigate to folders that contain your important files.
  • Right click on the folder and choose Sent to>Select your external hard drive storage to copy and backup your files.

backup files

  • Repeat the step to take a backup of all other files on your PC storage that won’t boot.

Once done, you can use the same Windows installer media to repair your Windows PC or reinstall Windows.

2. Use a Linux Bootable Drive

If you don’t have a Windows repair or installer media, you will have to create an installer media which requires a high-speed internet connection or Windows ISO (3.7GB). Alternatively, you can use Linux ISO such as Puppy Linux, which is 300MB—more than 10 times smaller than Windows ISO.

And similar to Windows, you can use this bootable Linux media to back up your files from a Windows PC that won’t boot.

Puppy Linux

  • Connect an empty USB thumb drive of size at least 512MB and download Rufus Tool.
  • Double-click on exe to launch. Choose USB thumb drive from ‘Device’ and click ‘Select’ to choose the Puppy Linux ISO.
  • Select ‘Partition Scheme’ as MBR, ‘Target system’ as BIOS or UEFI and click ‘’.

Drive Properties

  • Then connect the media, choose USB drive from boot options and press ‘’.
  • Puppy Linux will boot, and then you can open File Manager to copy and backup your data from your PC drive to the external drive.

File Manager

3. Remove Hard Drive from PC

Disconnect the hard drive from your PC and connect it to a working Windows PC. Use SATA connectors or a SATA to USB converter cable. Then access the drive volumes to back up your data.

NOTE: If a ‘format’ prompt appears (see screenshots below) while accessing the drive volume, click ‘Cancel’. DO NOT CLICK FORMAT.

you need to format the disk before you can use it

drive not accessible

In case the drive is inaccessible or RAW and not detected, immediately reach out to a data recovery expert or use a DIY data recovery software to get back data from such drive. Do not run CHKDSK scan or use a third-party partition manager or disk management tool to repair volumes as it may lead to permanent data loss.

4. Talk to a Data Recovery Expert

When your data is important or if you are not able to recover your files, reach out to a data recovery expert for help. Most importantly, you must verify the record of accomplishment of the service provider before handing over your device(s) for recovery.

Data privacy should be a concern and an important factor while choosing a data recovery service provider.

Conclusion

Maintain a regular backup to protect your files against inevitable data loss situations. However, in the absence of backup, you can rely on data recovery software or service. Use them when your data is critical and when the system is dead or the drive gets logically, mechanically, or physically damaged.

Do not attempt hit and trial methods, as you may lose your data permanently beyond the scope of recovery. Always reach out to a data recovery service provider for expert help.

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