Hi folks. This is kinda one of my used-to-be-famous Quick-n-Dirty’s as I’m crushed for time. Many know this but many do not.
Please, backup at least once a week, Certainly before a known Windows Update, to avoid FUBAR, You don’t wanna go all Freaked Up Beyond All Recognition when you can avoid it altogether for the price of some type of media. IMO it’s cool to backup before you install new software (games not so much) or make system changes. This way you needn’t risk not getting a full recovery, you can restore to Exactly the way the system was with no “digital driftwood” from the bad install or whatever.
Image Windows using Windows System Image Tool, a holdover from Windows 7 still embedded in later versions. It is an Administrator tool that runs from the control panel app.
Quick-n-Dirty means I am your friend, and so is Google.
Buy a backup device, HDD/SDD/writable media (yup. System Image has love for you too).
HDD/SSD? Make sure it has a high Terabytes Written value (TBW). It’s not so great if it lasts ten million hours of uptime but fails to take a lot of writes. for TBW I like Samsung EVO’s for the price vs. TBW value. I also have good fortune with WB Blue. I don’t use other brands but I hear some are fine.
Yup, use a separate physical device. Two if ya’ can. A redundant backup of your backup is not a bad idea. Here we go…
Open the Control Panel.
Click “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)”.
Forget about Backup and Restore Your Files.
Underneath the text “Control Panel Home” click the text “Create a System Image”.
Select a backup device. You may select a network drive as well.
Make sure you select all the drives you wish to image, do not select the drive to be written to.
Verify you have enough space on the drive or enough disc’s/media.
Image the main device to a separate device.
Make your Restoration Disc!! I prefer the USB stick option, it’s faster for me. For the USB option search for:
Create a recovery drive - Microsoft Support
as soon as possible. Practice booting with the boot media you make. When in the recovery media menu you will not select Restore Backup, You will select “Troubleshoot / Advanced Options/Recover from a drive”. You do not have to run the recovery option but it is good to know how it works in advance to ease stress.
Sip a beverage and know when FUBAR offers it’s services your rear is totally covered.
You are making a 1:1 image of the drives selected, an exact copy, not a backup. This, when restored, does not need Windows on the system prior. Restoration means wiping the drive and writing the image to the drivespace.
Things to know about Windows Imaging Tool:
The drive being restored to must be the same physical capacity or higher, you cannot write this image to a smaller drive. 1GB to 1GB or 1GB to 2GB and so on, no 2GB to 1GB.
When restoring to a brand new drive (never before formatted) you will need to format the entire drive first, then delete the format. This is a “feature” of Windows Image Tool as it is an Admin tool originally and will not be fixed. If your restore fails for any unknown reason this can usually be tried successfully.
This image can be read in Windows Explorer, at lease when written to a HDD/SSD. You will need to grant Admin privvie’s to read it (say Yes at the prompt that appears. This is a good way to retrieve individual files and folders for manual selective restoration.
Hope this helps.