Question Best way to make a clean install drive


May 4, 2019
I do have a question, but want to leave a kudo first: I've posted to this forum before, and got help for my problem, ie: a question about wifi, and I was having problems with an almost new XPS 8930. Someone here said it sounded like the OS had been installed on the HDD, as opposed to the SSD. Sure enough; that was it. I sent the tower back to Dell; they admitted the OS had been incorrectly installed -- and when I got the tower back, there was an improvement. But, not a complete fix, in my opinion. Then again, who am I?

Recently, the computer just stopped working. Not a very good description, but that's all I can say. After loving Dell for years, I was so disgusted. But, since the computer was still under the Support Premium Plus plan, Dell sent a certified on-site technician. He replaced the SSD, the motherboard, and a couple other things. Then, he said, "Well, you basically have a brand new computer again."

That's good, and I want to keep it in good order, So here's my question: Can I move or install or copy my entire C Drive (which is now on the SSD) to a USB drive, and make that work for a clean install if necessary?

If so, how do I set the BIOS to boot from the USB.

I've done this with every computer I've had, and it has saved my butt a couple of times. Now, maybe because of the problems I've had with the XPS, I'm afraid to do much of anything without advice from those who know more than I do. Thanks so much.


May 4, 2019
Thank you so much, Jay! Now, I have another question: I've heard of cloning software, but don't now what it is. Could you tell me where to get such a thing? Hopefully, it can be downloaded from the internet.

Also, if I would need to use an image of the drive for a clean install, don't I have to set something in the BIOS, so the computer will boot from the USB? Thanks again.


I use Aomei Backupper. It's free.
Many people use Macrium Reflect. It's also free.

Being you just got the PC repaired and I assume it's working would be a great time to make the image.

If you make an image....and need to use would have to boot from something besides your OS drive.....and usually this would be a USB stick (in my world)......and you would set it to boot from the USB in the BIOS.


Mar 16, 2013
Not a full clone, but rather an Image.
Macrium Reflect.

For all of my systems, I have a Day 1 and Day 2 image.
Day 1 = the bare OS with whatever updates are happening.
Day 2 = The same system with my basic load of applications.

And Image in Macrium lets you store multiple images on a single drive. And use the rest of the drive for whatever you wish.

Also in Macrium, you create a REscue USB.
If you ever need to recover that Image, you boot from the RescueUSB, and tell it what Image and which drive to apply it to.

After that, I also do a rolling series of Incremental or Differential images.