Backup and Restore in Windows 7
Intermediate

How to create and restore a system image (full backup) in Windows 7

Today there still a lot of people who don’t know or ignore one of the most important maintenance task on a computer, that is to create a system image (or full backup of all the content in the hard drive). There is no way around it, sooner or later computers will get infected with really bad viruses, hard drives will fail or a serious error will occur. At the end of the day you need to think that computers will eventually fail and you could lose all your important files, i.e, documents, pictures, music, and videos that you have been gathering for a long sometime. This cannot be good!

Thankfully now in Windows 7, we have Backup and Restore feature that allows to safely create a copy of your most important files. This is the best version in comparison with the others: NTBackup and the Windows Vista Backup and Restore Center. Microsoft introduced Backup and Restore Center in Windows Vista, which had some limitations, for example system image feature (or full backup) was not included in Windows Vista Home Basic or Home Premium. Now Windows 7 Backup and Restore has more features and is included in all the Windows 7 versions.

How to create a system image in Windows 7

Ok, let’s get to started, today are going to learn how to create and restore a system image using Windows 7’s Backup and Restore feature.

1  Click Start, in the search box type backup and restore.

2  In the search result under Programsselect Backup and Restore.

3  Click Create a system image.

Select Create a system image

4  Choose where you’d like to save the backup and click Next. You can not store the system image in the same hard drive or partition for obvious reason. However you can store the system image in the same hard drive on a different partition, but is NOT recommended.

The best options are to save the system image into an external hard drive, CDs or DVDs (the number of discs that you are going to need it will depend on how much data you have in the hard drive).

Options of where to save the backup.

5  And click Start backup.

Confirm backup settings and Start backup

 Backup in progress 

6  Once the backup has finished, Windows 7 will ask you to Create a system repair disc; go ahead insert a blank disc and click Create disc. This is necessary to start your computer and restore your system. And remember to label the disc!

Do you want to create a system repair disc? 

Create a system repair disc window

7  After Windows 7 has finished backing everything up, don’t forget to store your system image in a safe place. Taking it offsite to a friend’s house that you trust or a family member is not a bad idea.

To restore your computer from a system image follow this steps

Note: Make sure that your computer is set up to boot from a disc drive in the BIOS. Check your computer manual to change the boot order if necessary.

1  Insert the repair disc labeled Repair disc Windows 7 32 bit or 64 bit into the disc drive, restart your computer and wait until Windows loads up all the files.

2 Select a keyboard input method: US and click Next.

Select a keyboard input method

3  Select Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier. and click Next.

Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier. option.

4  Windows will look for the drive with the system image and it will present you with the latest one it finds. If you have more than one system image to choose from click on Select a system image.

Select a system image backup window. 

5  Click Next.

Note: The option Format and repartition disks is good if you are restoring into a new hard drive.

6  Click Finish to start restoring your computer, now seat back and wait until this process is done!

Last screen before reimaging 

Windows did not have a really good built-in backup tool for a while, but for many users in need of backing up personal information and Windows operating system, Backup and Restore in Windows 7 should be more than enough.

Now that you have a full backup, you can breathe a little bit easier without worries!