The drive is not a valid backup location error on Windows

USB drives were used for stored small files, perhaps music and videos too. The usual size was 2GB or 4GB. With time, they have advanced quite a lot and it is common to find USB sticks with a capacity of 64GB or 128GB. With such a size, they are being used for storing a backup of system data or creating an image. However, at times you may such an error message on Windows 10/8/7:

The drive is not a valid backup location

The drive is not a valid backup location

The cause behind this issue is that Windows does not recognize USB drives as a valid backup location since earlier they weren’t large enough to store system images.

The following solutions could be helpful in resolving The drive is not a valid backup location error:

  1. Use a third-party tool to create the backup
  2. Create a sub-folder in the USB drive and back up the image there.

1] Use a third-party tool to create the backup

While Windows doesn’t allow backing up to the USB drive using its own tool, this restriction doesn’t exist with third-party free backup software like Back4Sure. Try them to back up the files to the USB drive.

2] Create a sub-folder in the USB drive and back up the image there

One good way to bypass the USB drive limitation is to save the backup image of the system in a sub-folder instead of the main drive. Here’s the procedure for the same:

Right-click on the USB drive and select Format.Right click on the USB drive and select Format

Select the File System as NTFS and check the box next to Quick Format.

Click on Start to initiate the formatting process.Format external drive as NTFS

Open the USB drive and right-click anywhere inside the main drive window.

Select New > Folder.New Folder

Name the folder to be created “Image (or anything you please).”

Right-click on the folder and select Properties.Sub folder properties

In the Sharing tab, click on Share.Share

Verify that the Permission level on the System owner (your username) should be Owner.Owner permissions

Now try to back up your files keeping the Sub-folder as the backup location.

Hope this helps!

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Karan Khanna is a passionate Windows 10 user who loves troubleshooting Windows problems in specific and writing about Microsoft technologies in general.