Fix “The drive is not a valid backup location” Error in Windows 10

We need to backup the files in our system at times and the image is stored on an external drive. Many users prefer an external Hard Drive which some prefer a USB drive.

Earlier USB drives didn’t have enough space (eg. 64GB for a system image), thus that device was neither permitted nor usable for backing up system data. Some users have reported that despite their USB drive having sufficient space, they get the following error:

The drive is not a valid backup location.The Drive Is Not A Valid Backup Location


One cause could be that the system is not updated to recognize the changes and the second could be that the USB drive has not been formatted in NTFS partition.

Preliminary step

Update Windows since it would help the Operating System recognize that the policies have been changed to allow backing up system data in a USB drive. Here’s the procedure for updating Windows 10 manually.

Check For Updates


Thereafter, proceed with the following solutions:

1] Format the external drive as NTFS and create a sub-folder for backup

2] Use a third-party backup software

Solution 1] Format the external drive as NTFS and create a sub-folder for backup

1] Right-click on the USB partition in the File Explorer.

2] Select Format.

3] Change the File system to NTFS and click on Start to initiate the formatting.

Ntfs Partition


4] After this, open the USB drive and right-click anywhere inside the main drive.

5] Select New >> Folder.

6] Name the new folder “Image.”

7] Right-click on the new folder and select Properties.

8] In the Sharing tab, click on Share.

9] Verify that the permission level for the System user’s account should be set to Owner.

10] You would be able to backup your files now keeping that “Image” sub-folder as the backup location.

Solution 2] Use a third-party backup software

While Windows 10 would not allow backing up files to the USB drive, third-party backup tools do not have such a restriction. Any reputable third-party tool could be used for the same.