Tutorial: How to backup the entire system to USB Flash Drive

Tutorial: How to backup the entire system to USB Flash Drive


The main purpose of a backup is Data Loss Prevention. Therefore it is recommended to perform a backup after a new installation of CoreELEC, and before any update or change to the system.

CoreELECs internal backup tool backs up and restores the entire Kodi system, including passwords, usernames, settings, add-ons, configurations files, api keys, pictures, video and audio files, thumbnails, temporary files, etc.


  1. Requirements
  2. Creating a backup to USB Flash Drive - How To
  3. Restoring a backup from USB Flash Drive - How To
  4. Disclaimer

1. Requirements

  • advanced” or “expert” enabled in Kodi
    (Kodi settings / bottom left pane)
  • Hidden files and directories” and “File renaming and deletion” enabled in Kodi
    (Kodi settings / media / general)
  • Kodi “storage” has to be mounted in Kodi file explorer
    (add source / browse / home folder)
  • USB Flash Drive (or other storage device) of sufficient capacity
  • available functional USB slot

2. Creating a backup to USB Flash Drive

Insert the USB Flash drive into an available USB slot.

Select the CoreELEC Configuration program add-on

Select “Create System and Kodi Backup”

Keep selecting the back folder till the home screen appears.

Select the USB Flash Drive

The backup will start

3. Restoring a backup from USB Flash Drive

Select “Restore Backup”

Keep selecting the back folder till the home screen appears.

Select the USB Flash Drive

Select the backup file

Select “Yes” to restore the backup

CoreELEC will restart

Upon reboot, the restoration process, which can take up to 10 minutes, will begin.

4. Disclaimer

All information is provided “as is” and on an “as available” basis. You agree that you use the information included in this tutorial entirely at your own risk.

The developers, and the author (short: Team CoreELEC) give no warranty and accept no responsibility or liability for the accuracy or the completeness of the information and materials contained in this how-to.

Under no circumstances will Team CoreELEC be held responsible or liable in any way for any claims, damages, losses, expenses, costs or liabilities whatsoever (including, without limitation, any direct or indirect damages for loss of profits, business interruption or loss of information) resulting or arising directly or indirectly from your use of or inability to use this how-to, or from your reliance on the information and material on this how-to, even if Team CoreELEC has been advised of the possibility of such damages in advance.


The above in PDF format

Tutorial - how to backup the entire system to USB Flash Drive.pdf (4.0 MB)

1 Like

Thank you very much for the how-to!
I thought already to contact you to write such how-to in CE forum. But it’s already here :smiley:

Nice job!

yw. I hope this is the right category.

Just a couple of things. Should this be classed as a Tutorial or a Giude?

Other thing, I use the coreelc backup quite often, I just save to backup folder in storage, then download to pc. A minor point

Why do you say Hidden files and directories ” and “ File renaming and deletion ” enabled in Kodi
( Kodi settings / media / general ) is this needed?

By the way, thanks for this

I believe that’s an excellent question.

Probably not but there is some reasoning behind it:

The tarball is by default saved to .config/backup. Folders starting with a “.” are invisible in Kodi File Manager (see: HOW-TO Copy remote controller files in Kodi using a USB Mouse and USB Flash Drive).

To restore certain system files, Kodi might need write privileges, so we just as well might enable those to.

The majority of my tutorials, guides, how-to’s, walk-troughs, documents, whatever you want to call them, are showing how to use the Kodi File Manager, instead of relying on Samba or the Local Area Network and personal computer.

Not every end user has the skill or knowledge on how to setup these types of network environments. That’s why there are support forums, such as this one.

The Kodi File Manager allows for maintenace of files from within Kodi on platforms that have no underlying and easily accessible operating system. It allows you to perform functions such as Move, Copy and Delete, to name a few, as well as to transfer files between for example eMMC and USB Flash Drive, by using the Remote Control.

None of this should be a concern if end users make a backup before starting to fiddle around with the system. Part of the learning curve is making mistakes. That’s where backups come in handy, which is what the original post is about.

This way, all end users have a frame of reference they can work with, regardless of their skill set, experience or knowledge.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Ótimo tutorial.
Valeu! :+1:

1 Like

This backup does not work in CoreELEC 19 Matrix (Kodi RC)

Why nobody does upload a debug log?
How should we help then???

Anyway, maybe I saw a issue. But I don’t know if it’s the same as nobody provide a debug log.

I think in future we will close and remove just such posts!

Please try again with tomorrow CE-19 nightly:

Works fine with my 4 boxes (clean install). Pondering what’s going on.

It was a encoding issue, should be solved in next nightly.

1 Like

it’s already working Thanks


For those who want to make a full backup of their microSD card (CE) you can use AOMEI BACKUPPER (free) to do it.

Make a backup as “disk backup” of your microSD and you can reinstall your full system disk on other microSD card later or when you want.

Its very usefull and good to know … the only thing you must use the SAME brand SAME capacity microSD card.

  • I use AOMEI because its perfect … there is few other backup soft but I don’t know about it

Hi, this procedure works from CE 9 to CE 19?

Yes. It’s also part of the CoreELEC Wiki

That’s nice, I’ll try, by the way, I’ve tried to flash the sd card using the CE 19.5 generic s905x3 4gb gigabit lan image and I just get a blank screen.

My tv box is a Magicsee N5 MAX… any idea about what can be wrong?

Maybe you have only 2GB variant? And/or only 100Mbit?
Check with different DTB, and if none works, provide logs.

The logs will be created even if doesn’t boot?

Wrong thread. This thread is about the CoreELEC backup tool.

Please stop hijacking threads with “by the ways”, and create a new thread for your issue in the corresponding section of the User Forums.

Thank you.