Make a 1:1 Image of Windows 10/8/7 using System Image, a Windows tool

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. :grinning:

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. :upside_down_face: 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.

There is much easier to use and more flexible solution for making 1-1 images, called Macrium Reflect Free edition. Not only can you recover to smaller HDD (providing its large enough to hold the data), but it can also image and restore Linux partitions.

It also has its own Windows PE USB recovery media utility.

1 Like

Thanks Dee. As you can see I don’t keep up as I used to. Please feel free to delete this post as it seems irrelevant.

There really is no need to delete the post. Good information is never irrelevant. Plus some people like to do it ‘yourself’ rather than have an app do all the hard work.

If you want me to delete it I will do so. But as I said. I consider your post to be valuable

Hey, if it’s deemed valuable let it hang. I appreciate it.

Hi Dee, I’ve tried Macrium Reflect and it takes around two minutes to actually open. I’ve tried repairing it and uninstalling and starting afresh, no different.
Is it normal to be so slow?

No it starts in a couple of seconds here.
That’s on Win11 running from an NVMe SSD.

Which OS do you have it installed on?

Hi Dee,
these are the components of the rig which is usually very quick.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Eight-Core Processor 4GHz (cooled by an AIO)
RAM 32.0 GB
500 GB Samsung 970 Evo Plus M.2 SSD
64bit Windows 10 with all updates.
GeForce GTX 1060 6GB with latest driver.
The free Macrium does work OK when it finally gets going. everything else starts up normally.

The only thing I can think of is Macrium is struggling to load a storage driver.

I notice you have a Samsung NVMe SSD.
Macrium uses a Win11 PE and the Samsung proprietary NVMe driver is not compatible with Win11. You have to use the standard Microsoft NVMe driver.

Your CPU is compatible with Win11. It’s only a matter of enabling firmware TMP in the BIOS and enabling Secure Boot.
Any reason not to upgrade to Win11?

Dee, according to Microsoft’s Windows 11 checker app, this computer is compatible with 11.
I don’t want to upgrade this rig to 11, because I have it on my laptop and I very much dislike it.
I think it will be better when Microsoft adjust a few things and it matures a little, then possibly I will update this rig. The SSD is using the standard Microsoft driver. Obviously TMP and Secure boot are enabled in the BIOS

Weird! I think I will just have to be patient and wait for it to load.

Dee, just out of almost desperation I removed Macrium totally, then reinstalled it with a fresh download and now for some reason it works as fast as everything else!? Two bad downloads the other day? Todays worked better?
Whatever, “I’ll be dipped” as the Americans often say. It verks. :slight_smile:
Thanks Dee, for your quick reply and all your suggestions, that is very much appreciated.
Have a great and healthy Christmas.
Kind regards,
Vox. (I would like to dump the smart bit as I don’t own a Smart car any more)

I use Macrium Reflect 8 Workstation. I run it from an SD card connected to a USB port through a card reader. It takes some minutes to load, but it works perfectly and has been rock solid reliable. Every backup I make, I test by attempting to restore to a drive I have dedicated as a Restore Test drive. I cannot say enough good things about it. I happily used Acronis Backup for years, but had horrible experiences with the latest versions and after spending months with countless techsupport calls with Acronis, I gave up and moved to Macrium. I wish that I had just abandoned Acronis sooner, and did not waste all the time trying to make it work. Macrium is truly a great backup program. Just my two cents. Cheers!

I agree Disc_Dizzy, Macrium is extremely good for a fee app. I was using Aomei backer upper and when I needed it, guess what, it didn’t work. I did the “verify disc” operation and that said all was well, but the backup was corrupted somehow. I would not recommend this app, especially as I paid for it.