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Fixed – The Drive Is Not a Valid Backup Location in Windows 10/8/7

Description: Get “the drive is not a valid backup location” error message when creating a system image with Backup and Restore? Here are the fixes for this issue.

Nowadays, many users pay much attention to computer security since data is easy to get lost and the system always crashes due to virus attack, hard drive failure, mistaken operations, and more. In order to protect the PC from system breakdown and data loss, users may choose to create a system image and back up files.

Issue: The Drive Is Not a Valid Backup Location

Usually, users choose to use the built-in backup tool in Windows 10/8/7, Backup and Restore. But reportedly, Windows backup issues always bother users, for example, Windows did not complete backup successfully, Windows backup error 0x80780119, etc.

Here, we will show a common issue when creating a system image: the drive is not a valid backup location. This issue happens when backing up the system to a USB drive.

If the selected USB flash drive is using the FAT32 file system, the backup tool will inform users of the message “This drive cannot be used to store a system image because it is not formatted with NTFS“.  But after converting the drive to NTFS, they are told that the drive isn’t a valid backup location, as shown below.

Why? Actually, the utility doesn’t allow users to use a thumb drive or a USB flash drive as the backup storage path, which is a limit. But if users back up files to a USB drive, the operation can be allowed.


So, what should be done to fix this issue? Take it easy now and here are some possible solutions. To put it simply, there are 3 ways to help users out. Let’s go to see them!

How to Fix Not a Valid Backup Location for System Image

Fix 1: Create a System Image on an External Hard Drive Rather than USB Drive

When encountering the issue create a system image not working for USB drive, the simple way is to change a destination drive, like an external hard drive, to continue system backup.

In Windows 10/8/7, find Backup and Restore and open it. Then, click Create a system image to start system backup. Then, choose an external hard drive to store the system image in the pop-up window. Next, follow the instructions to finish creating the system image.

Fix 2: Share USB as Network Drive and Start Backup

If users don’t have an external hard drive but still want to back up Windows to a USB drive, what should they do to create a system image on USB drive? The good way is to share their USB drive as a network drive and then continue the system backup with Backup and Restore.

Here is the guide and just follow it to fix the drive is not a valid backup location issue.

Step 1: Plug the target USB drive into the computer.

Step 2: Format the drive to NTFS file system via Windows Disk Management.

Step 3: Share the drive as a network drive by following the wizards:

  • Open the drive and right-click on the blank place to create a directory.
  • Share the directory with specific people.
  • In the list of users, choose the user to share with, click Share.

Then, the folder is shared. Copy the link to a location.

Step 4: Choose Properties from the context menu after right-clicking the directory and then go to Advanced Sharing to set all permissions to Full Control.

Step 5: Go to create a system image, and then choose the network drive to save the system image. Next, complete the system backup by following wizards.

Fix 3: Use Professional Backup Software

After reading the above solutions to fix not a valid backup location for system image, some users may don’t have an external hard drive and think it is troublesome to share the USB drive as a network for system backup.

In order to easily and effectively create a system image on USB drive, a piece of professional Windows backup software is recommended. In the market, there are various programs and here we recommend using MiniTool ShadowMaker, free backup software for Windows 10/8/7.

Why use this freeware for computer backup? After using it for a period of time, we find that this tool can easily back up files, the entire disk, partitions, and Windows operating system and its interface is easy-to-use. Besides, incremental backup, differential backup, and automatic backup can be created by MiniTool ShadowMaker.

Importantly, users can back up their PC to a USB drive with ease. Maybe these are the needed things that users are looking for.


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