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How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader’s Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Windows can create “system image backups,” which are essentially complete images of your hard drive and all the files on it. Once you’ve got a system image backup, you can restore your system exactly as it was when you backed up, even if your installation is badly corrupted or completely gone.

Windows contains many different backup tools. Most people won’t want to use this feature at all, and should just back up files with File History or another file-backup tool. But enthusiasts or system administrators who want to create a complete image of a system at one point in time will appreciate and use system image backups.

Your System Image Backup Can’t Be Restored On Another PC

You can’t restore a Windows system image backup on a different PC. Your Windows installation is tied to your PC’s specific hardware, so this only works for restoring a computer to its previous state.

While you can’t restore a system image backup on another PC, you can extract individual files from a system image backup. Microsoft says it’s not possible to extract individual files from a system image backup, and they don’t provide an easy tool to do so — but they’re just standard VHD (virtual hard disk) image files that you can “mount” and copy files from using File Explorer or Windows Explorer.

Be sure to connect the drive containing the system image backups to your computer before continuing.

How to Create a System Image Backup

Creating system image backups is still fairly simple. On Windows 7, it’s integrated with the normal backup tool. On Windows 8.1 and 10, just open the File History backup window in the control panel. You’ll see a “System Image Backup” link, which will open the “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” tool. Click the “Create a system image” link to create a system image.

There’s a good chance your system image backup will be quite large, so you’ll want to have a large drive to put it on. An external USB hard drive is ideal.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

How to Restore Your Backup from the Control Panel (Windows 7 Only)

If Windows is still working properly, you can do this right from the Windows desktop. However, this option only appears to be present on Windows 7. It was removed in Windows 8, 8.1, and 10.

To do this, open the Control Panel and locate the “Backup and Restore” panel. You can just search for “backup” in the Control Panel to find it. At the bottom of the window, click the “Recover system settings or your computer” link. Click “Advanced Recovery Methods” in the window that appears and then click the “Use a system image you created earlier to recover your computer” link.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

How to Restore Your Backup Through Windows’ Startup Options (7, 8, and 10)

You can also restore your image from a special boot recovery menu. This is the easiest way to restore images on Windows 10 or 8.1, as the option to restore a system image is no longer available from the desktop.

On Windows 10 or 8.1, hold down the “Shift” key on your keyboard and click the “Restart” option in the Start menu or Start screen. If your computer isn’t booting properly, Windows will automatically boot to this menu after a failed boot. If it doesn’t, then even the startup options themselves are corrupted.

Your computer will boot to the special recovery menu. Click the “Troubleshoot” tile, click “Advanced Options,” and then click “System Image Recovery.”

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

On Windows 7, reboot the computer and press the “F8” key while it’s booting. Select the “Repair Your Computer” option and press Enter to boot into recovery mode.

Choose your keyboard layout when asked, and then select the “Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier” option in the System Recovery Options window. Select a system image from a connected drive and go through the rest of the wizard to restore it.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

How to Restore Your Backup with a Recovery Drive

If you’ve created a recovery drive, you can boot from a recovery drive and restore your image from there, too. This is the only way to restore images when Windows can’t boot at all, or if Windows isn’t currently installed on the PC. If you haven’t created a recovery drive yet, you can create a recovery drive on another Windows PC that’s currently working properly and take it to your current PC.

Insert the recovery drive and boot from it. This may require changing the boot order in your computer’s BIOS or accessing a “boot devices” menu.

On Windows 10 or 8.1, you’ll see the same options you would in the boot options above. Just select Advanced Options > System Image Recovery. On Windows 7, select the “System Image Recovery” link.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

How to Restore Your Backup from Windows Installation Media

If you have a Windows installation disc or flash drive lying around, you can boot from it and restore a system image. This will work even if Windows isn’t currently installed on the PC. If you don’t have any installation media lying around, you can create a Windows installer USB drive or DVD on another Windows PC and take it to your current PC.

Boot from the Windows installation media like you would the recovery drive above. Just as if you were booting from a recovery drive, this may require changing the boot order in your computer’s BIOS or accessing a “boot devices” menu.

Whatever type of installation disc you’re using, go through the first few screens until you reach a screen with an “Install now” button. Ignore that button and click the “Repair your computer” link at the bottom-left corner of the window to access the same system repair tools you’d access from a recovery drive or from the boot-up menu above.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

System images are a very useful way to restore your entire PC exactly as it was when you backed up, although they aren’t for everyone. They aren’t even for most Windows users — that’s why Microsoft even tried to remove this option back in the development versions of Windows 8.1 before succumbing to pressure from enthusiasts and restoring the feature.

In Windows 11, you can restore files from a backup created with Backup and Restore or File History.

Restore files with File History

Connect the external storage device that contains your backup files.

In the search box on the taskbar, type Control Panel, then select it from the list of results.

In the search box in Control Panel, type File History. Select Save backup copies of your files with File History from the list of results.

Follow the instructions to restore your files.

Restore files with Backup and Restore

Connect the external storage device that contains your backup files.

In the search box on the taskbar, type Control Panel.

Select it from the list of results, then select Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Select another backup to restore files from, select the location of your external storage device, and follow the instructions to restore your files.

Back up your PC with File History

Use File History to back up to an external drive or network location. Select Start​ > Settings > Update & Security > Backup > Add a drive , and then choose an external drive or network location for your backups.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Restore your files with File History

If you’re missing an important file or folder that you’ve backed up, here’s how to get it back:

In the search box on the taskbar, type restore files, and then select Restore your files with File History.

Look for the file you need, then use the arrows to see all its versions.

When you find the version you want, select Restore to save it in its original location. To save it in a different place, right-click Restore, select Restore to, and then choose a new location.

Find your backups created on previous versions of Windows

If you used Backup and Restore to back up files or create system image backups in previous versions of Windows, your old backup is still available in Windows 10. In the search box on the taskbar, type control panel. Then select Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

In Windows 11, you can restore files from a backup created with Backup and Restore or File History.

Restore files with File History

Connect the external storage device that contains your backup files.

In the search box on the taskbar, type Control Panel, then select it from the list of results.

In the search box in Control Panel, type File History. Select Save backup copies of your files with File History from the list of results.

Follow the instructions to restore your files.

Restore files with Backup and Restore

Connect the external storage device that contains your backup files.

In the search box on the taskbar, type Control Panel.

Select it from the list of results, then select Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Select another backup to restore files from, select the location of your external storage device, and follow the instructions to restore your files.

Back up your PC with File History

Use File History to back up to an external drive or network location. Select Start​ > Settings > Update & Security > Backup > Add a drive , and then choose an external drive or network location for your backups.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Restore your files with File History

If you’re missing an important file or folder that you’ve backed up, here’s how to get it back:

In the search box on the taskbar, type restore files, and then select Restore your files with File History.

Look for the file you need, then use the arrows to see all its versions.

When you find the version you want, select Restore to save it in its original location. To save it in a different place, right-click Restore, select Restore to, and then choose a new location.

Find your backups created on previous versions of Windows

If you used Backup and Restore to back up files or create system image backups in previous versions of Windows, your old backup is still available in Windows 10. In the search box on the taskbar, type control panel. Then select Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Tools Explained for Windows 7 and 8

Tools Explained for Windows 7 and 8
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Backups on Windows can be confusing. Whether you’re using Windows 7 or 8, you have quite a few integrated backup tools to think about. Windows 8 made quite a few changes, too.

You can also use third-party backup software, whether you want to back up to an external drive or back up your files to online storage. We won’t cover third-party tools here — just the ones built into Windows.

Backup and Restore on Windows 7

Windows 7 has its own Backup and Restore feature that lets you create backups manually or on a schedule. You’ll find it under Backup and Restore in the Control Panel.

The original version of Windows 8 still contained this tool, and named it Windows 7 File Recovery. This allowed former Windows 7 users to restore files from those old Windows 7 backups or keep using the familiar backup tool for a little while. Windows 7 File Recovery was removed in Windows 8.1.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

System Restore

System Restore on both Windows 7 and 8 functions as a sort of automatic system backup feature. It creates backup copies of important system and program files on a schedule or when you perform certain tasks, such as installing a hardware driver. If system files become corrupted or your computer’s software becomes unstable, you can use System Restore to restore your system and program files from a System Restore point.

This isn’t a way to back up your personal files. It’s more of a troubleshooting feature that uses backups to restore your system to its previous working state.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Previous Versions on Windows 7

Windows 7′s Previous Versions feature allows you to restore older versions of files — or deleted files. These files can come from backups created with Windows 7′s Backup and Restore feature, but they can also come from System Restore points. When Windows 7 creates a System Restore point, it will sometimes contain your personal files. Previous Versions allows you to extract these personal files from restore points.

This only applies to Windows 7. On Windows 8, System Restore won’t create backup copies of your personal files. The Previous Versions feature was removed on Windows 8.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

File History

Windows 8 replaced Windows 7′s backup tools with File History, although this feature isn’t enabled by default. File History is designed to be a simple, easy way to create backups of your data files on an external drive or network location.

File History replaces both Windows 7′s Backup and Previous Versions features. Windows System Restore won’t create copies of personal files on Windows 8. This means you can’t actually recover older versions of files until you enable File History yourself — it isn’t enabled by default.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

System Image Backups

Windows also allows you to create system image backups. These are backup images of your entire operating system, including your system files, installed programs, and personal files. This feature was included in both Windows 7 and Windows 8, but it was hidden in the preview versions of Windows 8.1. After many user complaints, it was restored and is still available in the final version of Windows 8.1 — click System Image Backup on the File History Control Panel.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Storage Space Mirroring

Windows 8′s Storage Spaces feature allows you to set up RAID-like features in software. For example, you can use Storage Space to set up two hard disks of the same size in a mirroring configuration. They’ll appear as a single drive in Windows. When you write to this virtual drive, the files will be saved to both physical drives. If one drive fails, your files will still be available on the other drive.

This isn’t a good long-term backup solution, but it is a way of ensuring you won’t lose important files if a single drive fails.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Microsoft Account Settings Backup

Windows 8 and 8.1 allow you to back up a variety of system settings — including personalization, desktop, and input settings. If you’re signing in with a Microsoft account, OneDrive settings backup is enabled automatically. This feature can be controlled under OneDrive > Sync settings in the PC settings app.

This feature only backs up a few settings. It’s really more of a way to sync settings between devices.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

OneDrive Cloud Storage

Microsoft hasn’t been talking much about File History since Windows 8 was released. That’s because they want people to use OneDrive instead.

OneDrive — formerly known as SkyDrive — was added to the Windows desktop in Windows 8.1. Save your files here and they’ll be stored online tied to your Microsoft account. You can then sign in on any other computer, smartphone, tablet, or even via the web and access your files. Microsoft wants typical PC users “backing up” their files with OneDrive so they’ll be available on any device.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

You don’t have to worry about all these features. Just choose a backup strategy to ensure your files are safe if your computer’s hard disk fails you. Whether it’s an integrated backup tool or a third-party backup application, be sure to back up your files.

Looking for the best software to recover deleted files? This guide shares the best data recovery software for Windows with you to recover the deleted/lost files.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

By Penny / Last update May 25, 2022

Can you recover lost files on Windows 10?

Hello! Some of my files were gone because I failed to view them with Windows File Explorer. What’s worse, I have emptied the Recycle Bin, and I never make backups. I would appreciate it if you offer me some practical solutions to recover my missing files.

Have you faced with data loss situation like the user above because you’ve emptied the Recycle Bin or pressed the “Shift + Delete” keys? Luckily, this guide tends to share the most efficient method with you for file recovery in Windows. Before that, let’s look at possible reasons for Windows data recovery.

Possible reasons for Windows data recovery

Figuring out its potential factors could save you from data loss in the future. Please get an overview of these reasons.

в–¶Accidental deletion: Users could delete some files by mistake when managing folders or working materials.

в–¶Intention deletion: The limited storage of the storage media could prompt users to free up space by deleting some files intentionally.

в–¶Corruption: Corruption occurs when the writing process of a file is interrupted before completion. When a file becomes corrupted, it’s impossible to access it.

в–¶Formatted hard disk: Some files and documents will miss after the disk formatting.

There’s no better way than utilizing a reliable and handy data recovery software because it has minimal restrictions for recovering the deleted/lost files.

The best data recovery software for Windows

There’s much accessible data recovery software on the market. Therefore, how do you select the best data recovery software for Windows among these tools? Maybe you can get an overview of AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows and consider using it. Deeply engaged in the data recovery field, AOMEI Tech embeds advanced tech for this user-friendly software. Check these functions below.

This software allows you to recover the deleted/lost files from SSD/HDD/USB and other storage media. It provides good coverage of 200+ types of data: Word, PPT, Excel, Photos, Videos, Audios, Emails, Webpages, Compressed files, etc. This best data recovery software for Windows can keep its original format for the deleted/lost files. It supports deleted file recovery, formatted file recovery, and other data loss scenarios. It adopts the combined method scanning method of Quick Scan and Deep Scan. It supports NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS in Windows 11/10/8/7 and Windows Server.

The best software to recover deleted files Windows 11/10/8/7

One of the most powerful features of this professional software is it can retain its original filename and format for the deleted files. At the same time, it also can save you from being subjected to Windows OS.

Similarly, you’re supposed to stop using your PC and make no changes because any written performance could overwrite the free space that saves the deleted/lost data. Use the best software to recover deleted files Windows 10 by downloading it now!

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows on the computer.

Step 2. After loading the disk, select the partition/disk that contains your needed files before deletion/loss. Then click the “Start Scan” button.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 3. You can see all the deleted files and other lost files after performing Quick Scan and Deep Scan automatically.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 4. Confirm the scanning results and click “Recover x files” after choosing your needed files. Please save these retrieved files in a new location.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Bonus tips: How to prevent data loss in Windows?

Users gradually have recognized the safest way to prevent data loss is to make regular backups and update them in time. That’s the truth. What is the cheapest way to backup data? Use the free Windows feature provided by Microsoft or a free third-party tool.

Windows System image

Backup and Restore is the primary backup content of Windows Vista and Windows 7. It can help you deal with data corruption, hard disk drive failure, malware infection, etc. Moreover, Backup and Restore includes file and folder backup and System image.

You can use Backup and Restore to recover the permanent folders saved in the local disk because the file and folder backup only can backup data on the C drive. Before starting the restoration process, select “Browse for folders” to locate the folders you need.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Backup and Restore is enough for you to retrieve files and folders, but it is not powerful enough to make a complete PC backup. At the moment, the System image could give it full play to backup and restore Windows OS to the same PC.

Nevertheless, if you need to restore the Windows operating system to another PC, you could seek help from a third-party tool like AOMEI Backupper. Likewise, it’s possible to restore the D drive in Windows via the System image.

The best data loss prevention software: AOMEI Backupper

As you can see, AOMEI Backupper seems like a powerful software for “System Backup” and “Partition Backup.” But it is only a part of the story. Because AOMEI Backupper also supports “Disk Backup” and “File Backup.” In this situation, you can make a “File Backup” in Windows.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Moreover, a highly-acclaimed reputation among users has proved it is the best and free backup software for Windows. For example, you can use it to save the entire disk to the external hard drive, USB, Network, or Cloud Drive. It also can create incremental and scheduled backups.

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How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

How do you recover from a dead internal hard drive or SSD? Or if Windows becomes so messed up it’s useless or even unbootable?

You can always reinstall Windows from scratch. But after that you must reinstall all of your programs, and then reconfigure everything.

But if you have a relatively recent image backup handy, you can recover Windows, your programs, and your configurations with a few minutes’ work.

Image backup vs. file backup

An image backup copies everything on your drive, including partitions and the boot sector. It’s the only way to back up your Windows installation properly, with all of your programs and settings. Don’t confuse this with a file backup, which only copies your data files (documents, photos, spreadsheets, and so on).

Of the two, the file backup is by far the most important. You can always reinstall Windows and your applications, but you can’t reinstall your business records or your family photos. You should back up data files daily. If you’re not regularly backing them up, see my 3 easy steps for getting this going.

By comparison, an image backup simply saves you the major hassle of reinstalling everything. I recommend you create an image backup three or four times a year, saving it to an external hard drive. (See our roundup of best external drives if you don’t already have one.)

This article focuses on Windows 10. I’ve already covered the subject for Windows 7 and 8.

How to create an image backup in Windows 10

1. Plug in your external hard drive—which should have enough free space to hold everything on your internal drive. (The WD My Passport 4TB is our current top pick for this purpose.) Make sure Windows can access the drive.

2. Now go to Control Panel > Backup and Restore (Windows 7)—don’t worry about the “Windows 7” label.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

3. Click Create a system image in the upper left.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

3. On the following screen, make sure your backup drive is selected (or conversely choose the option to back up to DVDs or a network location).

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

4. Hit Next, make sure your C: drive is selected (as well as any other drives you want to back up), and click the Start backup button.

The backup may take a few hours. You can continue to work as it backs up. However, I prefer to start the backup at the end of the workday so it doesn’t slow anything down.

When the backup is over, you’ll be asked if you want to create a System Repair Disc. If your PC has an optical drive, create the disc.

If not, create a Recovery Drive: Plug in a blank flash drive, open Control Panel’s Recovery tool, click Create a recovery drive, and follow the prompts. Or follow our guide to making a recovery drive. This drive will enable you to restore your system image when the time comes.

Restore the backup

When Windows is in a seemingly hopeless condition, you’ll need to get into the recovery environment to restore the image. Here are three ways to do that:

  • If you can still boot into Windows: Select Start > Settings > Update & security. Select Recovery in the left pane, then select Restart now.
  • If Windows won’t boot and you have a System Repair Disc: Insert the disc into your optical drive and boot your PC. When you’re asked to “Press any key…,” press any key. Then pick a language.
  • If Windows won’t boot and you have a Recovery Drive: Insert the Recovery flash drive into a USB port and boot your PC. If your PC skips the flash drive and attempts to boot Windows, reboot and enter your Setup screen (F2 usually works; if it doesn’t, check your manual). Look for a boot or boot order option. Once you’ve successfully booted the flash drive, select a language.

Once you’re in a recovery environment, select Troubleshoot, then System Image Recovery. Follow the instructions.

System image backup lets you restore the entire Windows 10 OS when you are unable to boot. Here’re the steps to create a Windows 10 system image backup.

Windows 10 has multiple built-in backup systems to help you back up the entire system or individual files. For example, to backup files in a specific drive, you can use the File History feature. Alternatively, you can backup the OS itself with Windows 10 system image. When something goes wrong and you are unable to boot into the OS or if it is acting out of order, you can simply restore the system image to revert it back to a known good state.

For example, I always do an image backup after fully setting up the system. That way, even if I or the Windows update messes something, I just restore the image backup. Compared to reinstalling Windows and setting up everything, the backup and restore process is painless and user friendly.

Without any delay, let me share with you the full steps to create a system image backup in Windows 10.

A quick tip: Before creating the system image backup, I recommend you set up Windows the way you want. i.e, install all the software you use and configure all the settings. That way, after restoring the system it will be ready to go without any extra configuration.

Things you need:

  • An external hard disk or USB drive that is at least as big as your C drive.
  • The drive should be in NTFS format.
  • (Optional) A USB drive of at least 4GB to create a system rescue disk.

Steps to Create Windows 10 System Image Backup

Follow the steps below to properly create the system image backup in Windows 10.

  1. Open the Windows 10 Settings with the “Win + I” key shortcut.
  2. After opening the Settings, go to “Update & Security“.
  3. Select “Backup” on the left panel.
  4. Click on the “Go to backup and restore” link on the right panel.
    How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10
  5. Now, click on the “Create system image backup” link. You can find it on the left pane of the control panel.
    How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10
  6. Select the “On a hard disk” radio option.
  7. Select the hard drive or USB drive from the dropdown menu.
  8. Click “Next” to continue further.
  9. In the confirm window, click on the “Start” button.

As soon as you click the start button, Windows will start the system image creation process. Depending on your Windows installation size, the whole process can take a while to complete. So, sit back and wait until the backup is complete.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Once the backup has been completed, you will see a prompt asking you to create a system repair disc. The system repair disc will enable you to restore the system image when Windows is unbootable. If you don’t have a system repair disc, insert an empty USB drive that is at least 4GB and click on the “Yes” button. Follow the wizard to complete the repair disc.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

That is all. It is that simple to create a system repair disc in Windows 10.

Restore Windows System Image

To restore the system, insert both the external drive and system repair disc. Boot into the repair disk, go to the advanced options page and select “System image recovery” and follow the wizard.

I hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.

If you like this article, check out how to create Windows 10 backup to network storage.

Windows 10 features several tools to help you perform backups of your documents. Here are some of these tools.

File History

File History will perform a back-up of the files located in your libraries (Documents, Pictures, Music, etc.) It allows you to choose a drive, where you can back-up your files and then asks you when to do it.

To configure the File History backup, follow these steps −

Step 1 − Go to SETTINGS and select Update & security.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 2 − In the UPDATE & SECURITY window, select Backup.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 3 − Click “Add a drive” to choose where to store your backup.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Backup & Restore (Windows 7)

This tool, which was removed in Windows 8 and 8.1, was brought back allowing you to perform back-ups and restore data from old Windows 7 backups. However, it also lets to back-up your regular documents on Windows 10.

To open the Back-up & Restore, follow these steps −

Step 1 − Open the Control Panel by searching for it in the Search bar.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 2 − After the Control Panel is open, choose Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 3 − In the Backup and Restore window, you can choose to “Set up backup”.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 4 − In the Set up backup window, choose where you want to store your backup.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

When choosing any of the listed storage devices, Windows 10 will give you information about that specific device. After choosing the desired destination, click Next.

Step 5 − In the next window, you can choose what files you want to backup.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Windows default is to store everything in your libraries (Documents, Pictures, etc.) and in your Desktop, but you can also choose specific files and folders to backup. After making your selection, click Next.

Step 6 − In the last window, you can review the settings of your backup and establish the schedule in which you want to perform it.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 7 − In the end, click Save settings and run backup. The backup will perform at the scheduled time.

Creating a System Image

In case your computer failing, Windows 10 offers you some alternatives to restore it to a specific state. One of these alternatives is creating what is called a system image. A system image is a copy of all your system and program files needed for your computer to run properly.

You can use this option to store an image of your computer at a specific moment, and use it to restore your computer to that state later. The option to create a system image is in the same Backup and Restore window we discussed before.

Step 1 − Open the Backup and Restore window from the Control Panel.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 2 − On the Backup and Restore window, choose the “Create a system image” option on the left.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 3 − On the Create a system image window, you can choose where to store the backup from among three places: your hard disk, on DVD’s, or in the network.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

After choosing where to store the backup, click Next.

Step 4 − In the next window, just confirm your image settings and click Start backup.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Resetting the PC

Another alternative Windows 10 offers you for system recovery is simply called “Reset this PC”. This option will allow you to return your computer to its default factory settings. It will also give you the option of keeping your files or removing everything. To reset your PC, follow these steps −

Step 1 − Go to SETTINGS and select Update & security.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 2 − On the UPDATE & SECURITY window, select Recovery.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 3 − On the Recovery window, you can click the “Get started” button under Reset this PC.

Step 4 − The next window, will ask you whether you want to reset your settings and applications, but still keep your personal files, or just remove everything and return your computer to its default state.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Advanced Options

Windows 10 features several advanced options to restore your PC. Although these are meant for advanced users, you can access them from the same Update & Security window that we have discussed before.

Step 1 − Open the Settings window and select UPDATE & SECURITY.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 2 − On the UPDATE & SECURITY window, select Recovery. Under Advanced startup, click the Restart now button.

Step 3 − When Windows 10 restarts, it will present you a menu of options to select from.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

The same menu will appear whenever Windows tries to boot unsuccessfully.

How to back up and restore files from File History backups in Windows 10? This article shows you the step-by-step guide to restore files from backup on Windows 10.

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Windows 10 comes with an embedded file backup feature, that is, File History. File History can regularly back up the Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop folders to a local, external, or network drive restore them if the originals are lost, damaged, or deleted. It doesn’t back up your apps and programs.

Once you have enabled File History, it will automatically make a copy of every file you choose. And it’s easy to restore files from backup on Windows 10. Here, we will show you how to restore files from File History backups on Windows 10 when needed.

How to Restore Files from File History Backups in Windows 10

The steps below explain how to restore files from backup on Windows 10 with the File History backup in two ways.

1. Restore Files from Backup in File History Window

Step 1. Click the Search box and type file history. Click “Restore your files from File history”В from the search results.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 2.В Then, the File History window will open. All the backed-up files and folders will show up. You can preview the files to find the right version to restore.

If there are multiple backup versions, you can switch to a different backup version by clicking the left and right arrows at the bottom of the window.В Or you can directly search in the search box to look for files quickly.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 3.В Select the files you want to restore, and then click the green arrow to restore the files. В Or, You can click the gear icon near the upper right corner of the window and select “Restore to”В from the menu to restore the file to the location you want.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 4.В There might be a naming conflict when you restore files. You need to choose “Replace the File in the Destination Folder”, “Skip This File”, or “Compare Info for Both Files”В according to your needs.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

2. Restore Files from Previous Versions Option

You can also restore files from backup via the “Restore previous version”В feature

Step 1. Navigate to the File History folder and find the folder that contains the lost files. Right-click it, then select “Restore previous versions”.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 2. The folder’s Properties window will popВ up. All the backup versions will be listed under folder versions. Select a proper backup file and click the “Restore”В button to restore from backups.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Bonus Tips: How to Recover Deleted/Lost Files Without Backup

Windows File History provides us a simple way to back up and restore files. However, the actual situation is that many people did not use this function and did not create a backup so that there is no way to retrieve files when they are lost.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a professional and user-friendly data recovery software that enables you to restore files even permanently deleted files without backup.

You can free download this deleted file recovery softwareВ to recover lost photos, videos, audio, documents, emails, as well as other hundreds of file types with ease.

Step 1.В Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard in Windows 11/10/8/7 and choose the place where you lost data. Then, click “Scan”.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 2. After the scan, use the file format filter on the left or upper right corner to find the files you need. Then, you can click the “Preview” button or double-click a file to preview its content.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 3. Click the checkbox next to the file and click “Recover” to get back the lost data to a secure place.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

In addition to a reliable data recovery tool, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is also capable of repairing corrupted files, such as repair corrupted videos, fix damaged JPEG photos, and more. В

How to Back Up Files with File History in Windows 10

File HistoryВ on Windows 10В is turned off by default, you can follow these steps to enable this function. If you want to back up your files to an external hard drive, prepare and connect your external hard drive to your computer at first.

Step 1. Go to “Settings > Update & Security > Backup”. Then click “Add a drive”В under the “Back up using File History” section. Choose the target local or external hard drive. You can even use a network location as the File History backup drive.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 2. Click the “More options”В to configure File History settings.

Step 3. File History automatically backs up your files every hour in default. You can set the backup frequency to every xx minutes. You can also set how long to save the backup versions.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 4. After backup frequency, you can choose which folders and files you want to back up flexibly. Click Add a folder to back up more folders except for Desktop, Pictures, Documents, Downloads, Videos, etc.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 5. You can also remove the folders you don’t need to back up by clicking Add a folder under the Exclude these folders.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Conclusion

Regular backup is the best way to prevent data loss. You can use the File History backup tool that comes with Windows 10 or use a third-party file backup tool, like EaseUS Todo Backup to back up your important data.

Once you have created a backup, you can easily restore filesВ from backup when you encounter data loss or corruption.В You canВ restore backup files from external hard drive, local hard drive, and network location onВ Windows 10В depends on where you back up files.

But when you lose your data without a backup, don’t despair, because you can also use EaseUS data recovery software to retrieve lost files effectively.

Updated on Apr 23, 2019 by Brithny to Backup Utility

Method 1. Backup Windows 7 automatically with Windows 7 Backup and Restore

Windows 7 Backup and Restore is a built-in feature to help users to protect their personal files and documents against accidental deletion and loss. You can set up Windows automatic backup at regular intervals to backup your personal files and documents to another location, such as a secondary hard drive, flash drive, or network folder.

Backup and Restore creates safety copies of your most important personal files so that you’re always prepared for the worst. You can choose what to back up, or pick individual folders, libraries, and drives by yourself. Windows can back up files on whatever schedule you choose – just set it and forget it.

If you are experiencing system problems or you realize that you accidentally deleted or modified a file, you can also use the restore functionality of Windows Backup and Restore.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Following are the steps to access the Windows 7 Backup and Restore:

Step 1. Click the “Start” button from the Taskbar.

Step 2. Click the “Control Panel”.

Step 3. Double-click the “Backup and Restore” Center icon.

Then you can create a plan for how often do you want to backup data and select what exactly you want to backup.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Although Windows 7 Backup and Restore has an automatic backup feature, you cannot create your own schedule. Sometimes, back up once in a day really is not enough. For example, if you want to backup files every two hours, Windows 7 Backup and Restore cannot do it. What’s more, Windows 7 Backup and Restore is not stable as professional backup software. So another backup software is needed. There is easy-to-use backup software – EaseUS Todo Backup recommended.

Method 2. Back up Windows 7 automatically with system backup software

EaseUS Todo Backup can run hard drive partition data backup automatically at a predefined time. you can free backup system or any files within 30 days. By scheduling a backup task with a simple backup wizard, you can set to backup now, daily and weekly to set automatic hard drive partition data backups to protect your system and important data will be an easy job. What’s more, it has other features, such as differential backup, incremental backup, disk clone.

Step 1. On your Windows 7 computer, download and install EaseUS Todo Backup. To back up your entire Windows 7 operating system, choose “System Backup” to start.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 2. The software will automatically select all your Microsoft Windows 7 related files and detect an available backup location for you. Here, if you’ve prepared a backup storage device for the Windows 7 system image, click “Browse” in the “Destination” area.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

This is where you can freely choose a backup location on your own. It can be a local hard disk, an external HDD, USB memory stick or even a Network drive, a Cloud storage device, etc.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 3. Meanwhile, EaseUS Windows 7 backup software provides customers with more advanced backup options.

Turn on “Schedule“, and you can set an automatic Windows 7 backup task by daily, monthly. or upon an event.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

In the “Backup options“, to avoid the large backup image files occupying disk space too quickly, you can compress the backup image to an ideal level.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 4. After making all the necessary settings for backing up the Windows 7 system, click “Proceed” to execute the backup task at once.

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System image is still alive. for now, anyway.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal

Sarah is a freelance writer and CNET How To blogger. Her main focus is Windows, but she also covers everything from mobile tech to video games to DIY hardware projects. She likes to press buttons and see what happens, so don’t let her near any control panels.

One thing that’s noticeably missing from the new Windows 10 Settings menu is the system image backup utility. A system image backup is basically an exact copy (“image”) of a drive — in other words, you can use a system image to completely restore your computer, settings and all, in the event of a PC disaster.

Microsoft introduced the system image utility in Windows 7, and then tried to hide it in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. It’s still hidden in the Windows 10 Technical Preview, but the Recovery section of the Update & recovery tab does mention system images (under “Advanced startup”), so I hope that the system image utility will remain a backup option when Windows 10 officially launches.

At the moment, this is how you can create a system image in Windows 10:

1. Open Control Panel and go to File History.

2. At the bottom of the left pane, you should see a link to System Image Backup, under “See also.” Click this link.

3. The System Image Backup utility will open. Pick a place to save your system image backup (on a hard disk, on one or more DVDs, or on a network location), and click Next. Confirm your settings and click Start backup.

To use your system image to restore your PC, open up the new Windows 10 Settings menu and go to Update & recovery. Under Recovery, find the Advanced startup section, and click Restart now. When your PC restarts, go to Troubleshoot, Advanced Options, and then choose System image recovery.

The importance of backing up your data cannot be underscored enough. In case you of a virus attack, hardware or software malfunction, or accidental deletion of important data, you can easily get back your data. Windows 10 has a handy feature that allows you to set up a backup and restore your files should you lose your data in future. This can be done by using File History in the settings app. This article explains how to restore files from Windows 10 with or without backup.

Part 1: How to Restore Files from Windows 10 Backup?

Step 1: Click the “Windows” icon located at the bottom right corner of the screen or simply press the Windows button on your keyboard.

Step 2: Click the “Settings” icon: it resembles a gear.

Step 3: Click the “Update & Security” button under settings.

Step 4: Click “Backup” and under “Back up using File History” toggle on the “Automatically back up my files” option.

Step 5: Click the “More options” button.

Step 6: Click “Restore files from a current backup”.

Step 7: Type the name of the file you wish to restore in the Search box located on the top right corner of the window and use arrows to navigate to different files and folders.

Step 8: Select the files and click the “restore” button: an arrow that rotates left against a green background.

That is how to restore individual files from windows 10 backup.

Part 2: How to Restore Windows 10 Files without Backup?

4DDiG for Windows Data Recovery, is a powerful, user-friendly and beautifully designed tool that allows you to restore files even when you had not backed up your files. Recover permanently deleted files either from the recycle bin or Shift + Delete, formatted files, unreadable hard drives, files lost through virus attacks, and those from partition loss. Users can recover files from over 50 types of storage media and over 1000 file types after previewing them. What more could you ask for from a data recovery third-party software? Follow the procedure below.

Click 4DDiG Summer Sale Coupon Code to obtain limited-time offers.

Step 1: Download and install 4DDiG Windows.

Step 2: Select the location in which the lost files were saved and click “Scan”.

Step 3: Then you’ll see the following interface which displays the lost files.

Step 4: Preview the lost data and select the files you wish to recover and click “Recover” to commence recovery.

Step 5: Choose a file location in which you want the recovered data to be saved and click “Ok” to complete recovery.

(Note: 4DDiG Recovery performs a quick scan by default. Select Deep Scan to perform a sector by sector data scan. There’s also an option to directly recover the file by searching the file name in the search bar. Users can also Pause, Stop and Continue the recovery process, export and import scan status saved in a .res file extension.)

Video Tutorial on How to Recover Data from Windows 10/8/7?

Conclusion

Restoring files from Windows 10 backup is simple and straight-forward. If you had not created a backup, 4DDiG for Windows Data Recovery is a handy, functional tool.

Updated on 2021-07-22 / Update for Data Recovery

By: Waseem Patwegar

There are multiple ways to backup all your Files and Data on a Windows computer. In this guide, we are providing the steps to Backup Files Using Backup and Restore Tool as available in Windows 10.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Backup and Restore Tool in Windows 10

The Backup and Restore Tool was first introduced by Microsoft in Windows 7. The tool also made its way into Windows 8, but was removed in Windows 8.1.

Luckily, the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) was brought back in Windows 10 and it really makes it easy to backup all your Files and Data to an external drive.

In addition to backing up Files and Data, the Backup and Restore tool can be used to create a “System Image,” which can be used to recover your entire computer in case something goes wrong with it.

System image is a snapshot of the entire System including Operating System Files and Programs Files. Hence, it has the ability to recover your entire computer in an instant.

1. Backup Files Using Backup and Restore Tool

Follow the steps below to make a backup of all your personal files, photos and data, using the Backup and Restore Tool.

1. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup . In the right-pane, click on Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7) link.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

2. On the next screen, click on Setup Backup option, located under “Backup” section.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

3. If prompted, enter your Admin Password .

4. On the next screen, select your Backup Drive and click on Next .

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Note: You can also Backup Files to OneDrive, Google Drive or Drop Box by clicking on Save on Network… button.

5. On the next screen, select Let Windows Choose or “Let me Choose” option and click on Next .

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Note: If your Backup Drive has limited storage space, select Let Me Choose option and manually select the Files and Folders to be included in the Backup.

6. Wait for Windows to start the Backup process.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

7. On the next screen, make sure you are happy with the Backup Settings and click on Save settings and run backup button to make the first backup of your computer.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Note: You can Change the Backup time or Disable Scheduled Backups by clicking on Change Schedule and unchecking Run backup on a schedule option on the next screen.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

After disabling scheduled backups, you can click on Save settings and run backup button to Backup selected files.

2. Restore Files From Backup Using Backup and Restore

If you end up losing files, you can follow the steps below to Restore all your Files and Data.

1. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup . In the right-pane, click on Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7) link.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

2. On Backup and Restore screen, click on Restore My Files button located under “Restore” section.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

3. On the next screen, click on Browse for Folders button to select the Folders from the Backup that you want to Restore.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

4. After selecting Folders, click on Next to start the process of restoring Folders from the backup to your computer.

What is a System Image Backup?

A System Image Backup creates a backup image image of your disk volume, including the Windows system files ( C:\ Windows), your system settings, programs, along with any personal files or documents stored on the disk volume. You can restore your computer from the backup image.

Windows Server offers Windows Server Backup, which is basically the same thing with additional options and features.

How Windows System Image Backup Works

The Volume Shadow Service (VSS) creates a temporary snapshot of the original disk. The Windows Backup Engine (wbengine.exe) copies the temporary snapshot to a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) file that is located on another hard disk, or on DVD, or on the network. The temporary snapshot ensures that the backup captures a single point in time.

If the VHD is located on a second hard disk, VSS creates a second persistent snapshot on the second hard disk. When making a subsequent backup from the same original disk to the same VHD, wbengine.exe coordinates with VSS to use the snapshot to store only the changed disk blocks from the original disk in the VHD. This allows you to make incremental backups that contain only the disk blocks that changed after the first backup. This can greatly speed up future backup operations.

To restore an older backup the old snapshot of the second disk used as the data source.

Last Updated on March 20, 2020 by admin 7 Comments

On Friday of last week, we reviewed Redo Backup and Recovery, a free software that lets you create image backup of partitions without booting into Windows. In addition to the core feature, it also includes number of tools to create, delete, and repair partitions.

Users who can’t follow our extremely-simple how to backup data without booting into Windows using the installation DVD can use this Redo Backup and Recovery software when Windows fails to boot and you decide to create a complete image backup before reinstalling Windows.

In this guide, we are going show you how to use Redo Backup and Recovery software to create image backup of drives and restore the backup.

Using Redo Backup o backup data

Step 1: Download Redo Backup and Recovery ISO file and burn it using an ISO burner software. If you are on Windows 10/8/7, you can use the native ISO burn feature to burn the file. Of course, you need a working computer to download and burn the ISO file!

Step 2: Turn on the PC that fails to boot, insert the bootable Redo Backup CD/DVD, make necessary changes to the BIOS to boot from optical drive, and then restart your PC. You’ll see a screen something like this:

Select Start Redo Backup option and press enter key.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 3: In the following screen, you will see Backup and Restore options. As we are here to backup, click on Backup.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 4: Next, select the source drive that you wish to backup and click Next button. In the following screen, you will see all partitions on the selected source drive. Select the partitions by ticking the box and then click Next button.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 5: Select the destination drive where you want to safely save the backup. You can either select a USB drive or a network location as destination drive before clicking on the Next button.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 6: Lastly, click on the browse button to browse to the folder on the selected destination drive where you want to save the backup and click Save here button. Click Next button, enter a name for the backup image file and click Next button again to initiate the backup process.

Once the software completes its business, you will see “Backup image saved in n minute(s)” message. Click Ok.

Using Redo Backup to restore data

Step 1: Restoring the previously created image backup is fairly simple. Boot your computer using Redo Backup and Recovery CD/DVD, select Start Redo Backup, and then click Restore button on the welcome screen.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Step 2: Select the source drive where image backup is located, click Next, browse to the image backup file, select the destination drive you wish to overwrite and restore, and finally click Next button. Click Yes for the confirmation message to start restoring the image. That’s it!

by Anna Sherry Updated on 2020-03-10 / Update for Data Backup

If you want to backup files Windows 10, you have a ton of ways to do it on your machine. Windows users have always been lucky when it comes to making backups. There are both built-in as well as third-party options to let you create backups of your Windows based computers.

While some methods may not be as efficient as others, they get the job done for you. If you are specifically looking for efficient methods to backup your files, you have come to the right place. In the following guide, you will learn some of the most efficient ways to make backups of your machine. Let’s check each method out one by one:

Option 1. Professional File Backup Software – Free Tenorshare Data Backup

Although the built-in options on your Windows PC get the backup job done, they may not be easy to use. Some of those methods require using Control Panel and Settings which everyone may not be familiar with.

Fortunately, there is a third-party software called Tenorshare Free Data Backup that helps get the job done with ease. It provides you with an easy interface to create backups of your Windows files and folders.

Here are some of the best features of the software for you:

  • Backup all the content of your PC including apps, files, folders, and so on
  • Create exact copies of your disks and drives
  • Create image files out of your Windows files and folders
  • Easily backups Windows system.
  • Restore the backups at any point of time you want
  • Free to use.

It is worth considering the software for Windows backup files and the following teaches how you use it to clone your Windows disks. Believe us, it is extremely easy to use it.

Step 1 Download and install the software on your computer. Launch the software and select the an option to backup. Here we take Disk to Disk for example.

Step 2 On the following screen, choose the disk whose data you would like to clone. Then hit the Next option at the bottom.

Step 3 Select the disk where you would like to save the cloned data. This is the target disk. Once you have chosen it, click on Next at the bottom.

Step 4 Wait while the software clones your entire disk. You will see the live progress on your screen.

Soon as the disks are cloned, your backup will be ready. That is how you backup files Windows 7 and in other Windows versions

Option 2. Native Windows Backup Tools

There is no harm using a software like the one mentioned above to backup your files. However, if you would not like to use a third-party software to access your data, you can use one of the built-in ways to backup your data.

1. Backup Files Windows 10/8 with File History

File History has been a popular feature lately due to the easy backup procedure it provides. Using this tool, you can easily have your chosen folders backed up at regular intervals.

The feature can be accessed from the Settings app. Launch the app, head into Update & security, and click on Backup. You can then add the folders you would like to be backed up. The feature will then automatically backup your chosen folders on your machine.

2. Backup Windows Files Using Backup and Restore

Backup and Restore is available in many versions of Windows and just like File History, it also lets you easily create backups of your files and folders

Access it at Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Backup and Restore. When you are there, click on the Back up now button to start creating a backup of your machine.

Option 3. Cloud Backup Services

Most users nowadays prefer to save their computer backups on the cloud. The main reason why they want to do it is because cloud backups remain intact even when your PC gets crashed. Here are some of the popular cloud backup services:

1. Google Drive

Google Drive is one of the popular cloud services that lets you create your PC backups and store them on the cloud. It provides you with an app you can use to make your computer backups.

You get 15GB of free storage and it can be further extended by buying a subscription plan.

2. Dropbox

Dropbox is also trusted by millions for their file and folder backups. Using this service is extremely simple. Just download and install the app, sign-in to your account, and start putting all the files you want to back up in the Dropbox folder.

All of these files will then be uploaded to the cloud.

3. SOS Online Backup

SOS Online Backup claims to be the world’s most secure online backup service. It lets you backup your PC and any other devices and it has won awards for its excellent service.

Summary

When it comes to backing up files, there are a number of Windows 10 file backup software available to help you out. The above three options are to be considered when efficiency is of the top priority. Tenorshare Free Data Backup is highly recommended if you are looking for a free way to backup Windows 10/8/7 files.

Updated on 2020-03-10 / Update for Data Backup

uberman

Golden Member

VirtualLarry

No Lifer

Well, I use Macrium Reflect (Free edition) to backup my PCs to my NAS unit. I use the option to split the backup into 4.0GB chunks. (Should probably use 3.99, actually, because reasons.)

Then, burn 4-5 of those chunks to Blu-Ray, or one chunk per DVD. Before doing that, consider making some PAR2 files for the backup set as well, and liberally distributing those PAR2 chunks (smaller than the original chunks) onto each of your backup discs as well.

The idea being, that if one or two of your backup discs goes bad or missing, you will be able to re-generate the missing pieces due to the wonderful “magic” of PAR2 chunks, and restore your backup, or access all of the files in it, still.

ralfy

Senior member

What I do is have a scheduled full backup of the boot drive (C, an SSD) every month with an incremental backup daily to an external drive (F), and one previous full backup version retained. With more drive space, I’d do a full with daily differential, and more than one full backup version retained.

I also have a scheduled full file and incremental backup of some games, apps that I don’t need to put in C (where I don’t have a lot of space), and other data files in an internal regular hard drive (D) to F.

Third, I have a old backup of the system using Windows to another internal regular hard drive (E) in the computer. Besides unimportant things I download, I also use it to store File History.

I use a syncing program to backup encrypted copies of some data files to the cloud.

Finally, I installed some applications to monitor drive health conditions and the temperatures of the CPU and GPU.

Golden Member

JackMDS

Elite Member

So.. you are using True Image for cloning.

But.. TrueIimage works just as Well (or better) for back up to a File. There ample of choices to do it on a Computer, through a network, and even to the cloud.

You can install it on one central computer, or make a Boot USB that can work on any computer and instead of Cloning choose the option to back up to compressed file.

The One major adavandage that Acronis has over the Free programs is that it is much faster than any of them.

balloonshark

Diamond Member

The last image I made with Macrium Reflect free was an image of my OS drive which was 42GB. I did an image and verification (which takes extra time) and it took 7:08. That’s going from an older average SSD to a 7200RPM HDD. The image file size was 20GB at the default compression setting.

I usually make an image versus a clone. I think the only time a made a clone was when I was replacing the HDD with an SSD.

mikeymikec

Lifer

BonzaiDuck

Lifer

I do it several ways. I do what Mikeymikec does, so my Quicken accounting does regular auto backups to my server, which can be restored. I keep my document archive on my server. All the server files of this nature have “folder duplication” within the Stablebit drive pool. The server also backs those files up automatically by Syncback SE. All the Windows 7 systems — there are still three because my family is a bit backwards and slow — automatically backed up in their entirety to the server.

My “masterpiece” system with Windows 10 has a regular daily backup using Macrium Reflect Workstation version. The difference between “Home” and “Workstation is so small that it isn’t worth paying the extra $20 for the latter. Macrium “free” lets you do all but incremental backups — I think.

It’s a great program, because you can clone disks, fix dual-boot problems if you have any, or just fix a Windows installation which has developed boot problems originating with disk organization and other factors.

Here’s the Big Caveat. Look at all the ways I’ve got fallbacks for data, including file and folder duplication on my server. the server had come in handy about three times over the last several years to restore Windows 7 systems, and it’s very easy. You go to the server, make a USB thumb drive recovery disk for a particular computer, go to that computer, run the recovery and go out on the server to retrieve the disk images — selectively or automatically.

But on my “masterpiece” system, my Windows 2012 server doesn’t make backups for Windows 10 (the reason I was using Macrium for backup), and Macrium has been upgraded to version 7 since I started using it. I’ve followed all the upgrades on the boot drive, but the last time I made a rescue disc I was still using version 6. And since I’m in the middle of a motherboard change — there’s always uncertainty about disk and drive organization if you have to reset CMOS — I’d wish to have an updated rescue disc. Even so, I can download the “free” version and create a rescue disc, but without the proper hardware drivers.

Certainly, a lot of things which I won’t lose on the “masterpiece” are on other drives as opposed to the boot NVME. A lot of my software installation files are there, and I would just need to put the drive in a USB or eSATA device and grab the files. BUT — I forgot to back up my MS Office Outlook files to the server, and I can’t remember whether the current *.PST file is — on the boot drive or a secondary drive.

So — resurrecting the motherboard — the NVME boot drive must remain intact. I have to resurrect the OS installation with the new hardware changes.

And this is another reason I was a bit stupid. I should’ve at least scheduled weekly differential Macrium backups to my server drive pool, even with the daily backups to a local disk — my current practice. It does that stuff quite easily. I might even have had the server drive pool store the backups in duplication. What else would you do with 12TB of drive-pool space with only about 30% used?

What I DON’T LIKE — and indications on recent forum posts suggest why — are the continued changes to Windows 10, application software obsolescence with no alternative replacements — things like that. Life at age 73+ should have reliable routine, and limited changes. I don’t have the energy and time to keep up with such changes, and I don’t like unpleasant surprises, stressful crises that need time and attention, or anything else that takes away my time from “eldercare”, car repair, and all the damn chores and disciplines with Pandemic Constraints.

Resources

These resources mostly refer to Windows Server 2012 or 2016, but should work for 2019 as well.

Video Transcript

Windows includes several tools for performing backups directly within the operating system. In this video, I’ll briefly introduce a few of those tools.

First is the Windows File History tool. You can find it in the Settings app under Update & Security. Once there, choose the Backup option from the menu on the left. To use File History, you’ll need to have a second hard drive available. It can be either another internal drive, another partition on the same drive, or an external hard drive or flash drive. Once it is configured, File History will make a backup of any files that have changed on your system as often as you specify, and it will keep them for as long as you’d like, provided there is enough storage space available. By default, it will only back up files stored in your user’s home directory, but you can easily add or exclude additional folders as well.

Right below the File History tool is the Backup and Restore tool from Windows 7. This tool allows you to create a full system image backup and store it on an external drive. This is a great way to create a single full backup of your system if you’d like to store one in a safe location. However, since Windows 10 now includes options to refresh your PC if Windows has problems, a full system image is less important to have now than it used to be.

However, one tool you may want to be familiar with is the System Restore tool. Many versions of Windows have included this tool, and it is a tried and true way to fix some issues that are caused by installing software or updates on Windows. You can easily search for the System Restore tool on the Start Menu to find it. In essence, System Restore automatically creates restore points on your system when you install any new software or updates, and gives you the ability to undo those changes if something goes wrong. System Restore isn’t a full backup itself, but instead is a snapshot of the Windows Registry and a few other settings at that point in time. If it isn’t enabled on your system, I highly recommend enabling it, just for that extra peace of mind in case something goes wrong. As a side note, if you’ve ever noticed a hidden folder named “System Volume Information” in Windows, that folder is where the System Restore backups are stored. So, I highly recommend not touching that folder unless you really know what you are doing.

In the rare instance that your operating system becomes completely inoperable, you can use Windows to create a system recovery drive. You can then use that drive to boot your system, perform troubleshooting steps, and even reinstall Windows if needed. However, in most instances, I just recommend keeping a copy of the standard Windows installation media, as it can perform most of those tasks as well.

Windows also has many tools for backing up files to the cloud. For example, Windows has Microsoft’s OneDrive software built-in, which will allow you to automatically store files on your system in the cloud as well. While it isn’t a true backup option, it at least gives you a second copy of some of your files. There are many other 3rd-party tools that perform this same function that you can use as well.

Finally, Windows Server includes the Windows Server Backup tool, which is specifically designed for the types of data that might be stored on a server. You can use this tool to create a backup of your entire server, including the Active Directory Domain Services data. Losing that data could be catastrophic to many organizations, so it is always recommended to have proper backups configured on your domain controllers. As part of the lab assignment, you’ll use this tool to backup your Active Directory Domain, and then use that backup to restore an accidentally deleted entry, just to make sure that it is working properly.

Of course, there are many other backup tools available for Windows, both free and paid, that offer a variety of different features. If you are creating a backup strategy for your organization, you may also want to review those tools to see how well they meet your needs.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Windows 8.1 System Image Backup on DVD fails with error 0x80040154 When attempting to image to DVD’s, Backup produces notices “Preparing to create backup”, then “Label and insert a blank media”

Table of Contents

Why can’t I Create Disk backup in Windows 8 1?

As you know, you have the option to use Windows 8 Backup and Restore to back up your important data, but you can never back up your drive for Windows 10. And you can’t back up your files with Backup or Restore in Windows 8.1 , because this is a special Windows 8.1 Recovery and Backup may be missing due to the file history version.

How to recover data from Windows 8/8/1 disk backup image?

To restore the data you see is a Windows 8/8.1 hard disk backup image, users can try highlighting “Image Explorer”: “Tools” > “View Image” and “Create Windows Backup Image”, then make a photocopy and move to another a place where individual files can be restored. You have the option to completely restore Windows 8/8.1 to your hard drive by following these steps:

Can’t backup windows 7/8/10/11 with system image backup?

If you are still having trouble backing up Windows 7/8/10/11 with Image System Backup after following all the steps, you can use the free third-party backup software AOMEI Backupper Standard. This free backup supports the use of Microsoft VSS or its proprietary technology. In any case, you will not run into our own volume error shadow copy.

What causes system image backup failed error?

Unfortunately, the system image copy error indicates that an error occurred while preparing the backup image of one of the volumes. So the disaster ends up being due to stale backup files on some same partition. After finding out the causes of the error, we find the 3 most common repair methods to solve the problem.

How do I fix system image backup failure?

Press Windows + X to successfully open Command Prompt. Then “SFC type /SCANNOW” (without quotes) or press Enter. This will fix the issue, or at least tell you what’s wrong. If these overlays are used, you will be able to create an error-free system image backup.

How do I fix system image recovery?

Restoring a system image
On Windows 10, go to Settings > Security Update & > Recovery. In the Advanced Startup section on the right, click the Restart Now button under Advanced Startup. Windows 11 users should open Settings > System > Recovery, then click the Restart Now button to select Advanced Production.

Does Windows 8 have system image backup?

The system tool image works in both Windows 8.1 and Windows 8, so all you have to do is choose where you want to save the backup type and then click Start Backup.

How do I restore a system image in Windows 8?

Use the Windows key + I for the whole setup and click “Advanced PC settings” in the menu.
Go to General and Advanced Custom Startup, click Restart Now.
Click Troubleshoot.
Click More options. System.
Click “Restore” – “Restore Windows using specific system image data.”

When you try to boot the computer you get the error message Non system disk or disk error What is the most likely cause of this error message?

Method 2: Check the IDE or SATA cable of the hard drive. If the hard drive’s IDE or SATA connection is faulty or not properly connected, the system may not be able to read some hard drives. System disk error.” Just connect the cable properly or buy a perfect new cable if one of the cables is really damaged/faulty.

How to backup a hard disk to a disk image?

Use the following command to backup the /dev/sda a disk which helps the disk image file. 2. Use the following dd command as an example to recover a drive with its file image from another drive. 3. Back up the entire disk. Creating an image and restoring a disk in NFS 1. Check if there is usually enough free space on the Internet via NFS. 2. Create an image.

Which type of backup will compare a production disk with a backup image?

What is differential backup? Differential backup shells update files and folders daily that have changed since the last backup. They are much faster than full backups because less data is found.

Resources

These resources mostly refer to Windows Server 2012 or 2016, but should work for 2019 as well.

Video Transcript

Windows includes several tools for performing backups directly within the operating system. In this video, I’ll briefly introduce a few of those tools.

First is the Windows File History tool. You can find it in the Settings app under Update & Security. Once there, choose the Backup option from the menu on the left. To use File History, you’ll need to have a second hard drive available. It can be either another internal drive, another partition on the same drive, or an external hard drive or flash drive. Once it is configured, File History will make a backup of any files that have changed on your system as often as you specify, and it will keep them for as long as you’d like, provided there is enough storage space available. By default, it will only back up files stored in your user’s home directory, but you can easily add or exclude additional folders as well.

Right below the File History tool is the Backup and Restore tool from Windows 7. This tool allows you to create a full system image backup and store it on an external drive. This is a great way to create a single full backup of your system if you’d like to store one in a safe location. However, since Windows 10 now includes options to refresh your PC if Windows has problems, a full system image is less important to have now than it used to be.

However, one tool you may want to be familiar with is the System Restore tool. Many versions of Windows have included this tool, and it is a tried and true way to fix some issues that are caused by installing software or updates on Windows. You can easily search for the System Restore tool on the Start Menu to find it. In essence, System Restore automatically creates restore points on your system when you install any new software or updates, and gives you the ability to undo those changes if something goes wrong. System Restore isn’t a full backup itself, but instead is a snapshot of the Windows Registry and a few other settings at that point in time. If it isn’t enabled on your system, I highly recommend enabling it, just for that extra peace of mind in case something goes wrong. As a side note, if you’ve ever noticed a hidden folder named “System Volume Information” in Windows, that folder is where the System Restore backups are stored. So, I highly recommend not touching that folder unless you really know what you are doing.

In the rare instance that your operating system becomes completely inoperable, you can use Windows to create a system recovery drive. You can then use that drive to boot your system, perform troubleshooting steps, and even reinstall Windows if needed. However, in most instances, I just recommend keeping a copy of the standard Windows installation media, as it can perform most of those tasks as well.

Windows also has many tools for backing up files to the cloud. For example, Windows has Microsoft’s OneDrive software built-in, which will allow you to automatically store files on your system in the cloud as well. While it isn’t a true backup option, it at least gives you a second copy of some of your files. There are many other 3rd-party tools that perform this same function that you can use as well.

Finally, Windows Server includes the Windows Server Backup tool, which is specifically designed for the types of data that might be stored on a server. You can use this tool to create a backup of your entire server, including the Active Directory Domain Services data. Losing that data could be catastrophic to many organizations, so it is always recommended to have proper backups configured on your domain controllers. As part of the lab assignment, you’ll use this tool to backup your Active Directory Domain, and then use that backup to restore an accidentally deleted entry, just to make sure that it is working properly.

Of course, there are many other backup tools available for Windows, both free and paid, that offer a variety of different features. If you are creating a backup strategy for your organization, you may also want to review those tools to see how well they meet your needs.

Why you want the ultimate safety net.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Not entirely correct. An image created by most backup

It just won’t work to restore everything else (Windows, your programs, and the like).

Let me explain how it works.

Image backups for data

Image backups are perfect for backing up and restoring data files because by definition, they include everything, regardless of whether you thought something was worth backing up. Besides restoring an entire image backup, you can also extract individual files.

Image is everything

That’s important because it relieves you of having to decide what is and is not “Just my data”. Not only does “my data” often mean different things to different people, it’s also often scattered around different locations on your hard disk.

An image backup avoids missing something important in your backup of “just my data”.

An image has everything, whether or not you’ll need it.

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You’re more flexible than you think

The “trick”, if you want to call it that, is just because you created an image of your entire disk, it doesn’t mean you have to restore the entire image .

You can use image backups in either of two ways:

  • You can restore the entire image. This returns the drive to the exact state it was in at the time you created the backup. This includes all data, files, programs, and settings.
  • You can extract individual files from the image, thereby restoring “just your data”.

That second point is the important one. By creating an image, you didn’t need to decide what files were important; you backed up everything. It’s not until you need to restore something that you can go back to the image and know that whatever you need is there for restoration.

Extracting what you need

How you extract files from an image depends on the tool you’re using. And yes, some image backup programs don’t include the ability to extract individual files. (If you find yourself stuck with such an image, restore it to a secondary hard drive and then copy off the files you need.)

But most — including my two recommendations, Macrium Reflect and EaseUS Todo — do include the ability.

The biggest issue with images is that they can be large. Even compressed (which, again, most backup programs will do) they can easily add up to many gigabytes in size. But there’s a lot of security knowing that every file that was on your hard drive is in the image.

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

Scheduled backups not only help prevent the loss of critical data, but also make it less likely that you’ll bludgeon someone to death in a fit of rage when your computer crashes. Behold our handy guide

Windows Vista introduced some new backup tools, but they failed in one important area: you couldn’t specify exactly which folders should be backed up. Thankfully, the Backup and Restore Center in Windows 7 addresses this issue and also adds some extra features. Here’s how to set up scheduled backups in Windows 7.

1. Click on the ‘Start’ button and type ‘Backup and Restore’ into the search box. The Backup and Restore program should be listed in the search results. Click on it to launch the program. If no backups have previously been set, you’ll see a ‘Set up backup’ option on the right side of the window. Click this option.

2. After a short pause, you’ll be asked where you want to save the backup files. Those running Windows 7 Home Premium get the option to save to a separate hard drive, CD, DVD or attached USB storage device. If you’re running Windows 7 Ultimate, Professional or Enterprise, you’ll have the additional option of saving the backup to a network folder. Highlight your choice and click ‘Next’.

3. One of the new features in Windows 7 is the ability to choose individual folders that you want to be included in the backup. Unless you’re happy to leave Windows to decide which folders to back up, click the ‘Let me choose’ option and then click ‘Next’.

4. By default, all libraries associated with registered users of your computer are included. You can also specify individual folders by clicking on the ‘Computer’ section and then navigating through your hard drive. When you spot a folder you want to include, simply place a tick in the box next to it — if the folder has subfolders, they will be included. You can also opt to include a system image, which will let you restore Windows to a working state if all goes wrong.

5. Click ‘Next’ when you’ve selected all the folders you want to include. You’ll now see a summary screen detailing what’s to be included in the backup. Windows 7 will also create a schedule for you. If you’re happy with this, click ‘Save settings and run backup’. You can alter when the backup runs by clicking ‘Change schedule’.

6. In the screen that appears, you can choose whether to run the backup on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, as well as specify the day and time it should be run. If you only want to run the backup on a manual basis, remove the tick from the ‘Run backup on a schedule’ option. When you’ve made your choices, click ‘OK’ and run the backup as in the previous step.

Why you want the ultimate safety net.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Not entirely correct. An image created by most backup

It just won’t work to restore everything else (Windows, your programs, and the like).

Let me explain how it works.

Image backups for data

Image backups are perfect for backing up and restoring data files because by definition, they include everything, regardless of whether you thought something was worth backing up. Besides restoring an entire image backup, you can also extract individual files.

Image is everything

That’s important because it relieves you of having to decide what is and is not “Just my data”. Not only does “my data” often mean different things to different people, it’s also often scattered around different locations on your hard disk.

An image backup avoids missing something important in your backup of “just my data”.

An image has everything, whether or not you’ll need it.

You’re more flexible than you think

The “trick”, if you want to call it that, is just because you created an image of your entire disk, it doesn’t mean you have to restore the entire image .

You can use image backups in either of two ways:

  • You can restore the entire image. This returns the drive to the exact state it was in at the time you created the backup. This includes all data, files, programs, and settings.
  • You can extract individual files from the image, thereby restoring “just your data”.

That second point is the important one. By creating an image, you didn’t need to decide what files were important; you backed up everything. It’s not until you need to restore something that you can go back to the image and know that whatever you need is there for restoration.

Extracting what you need

How you extract files from an image depends on the tool you’re using. And yes, some image backup programs don’t include the ability to extract individual files. (If you find yourself stuck with such an image, restore it to a secondary hard drive and then copy off the files you need.)

But most — including my two recommendations, Macrium Reflect and EaseUS Todo — do include the ability.

The biggest issue with images is that they can be large. Even compressed (which, again, most backup programs will do) they can easily add up to many gigabytes in size. But there’s a lot of security knowing that every file that was on your hard drive is in the image.

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

The File History feature in Windows 10 and Windows 11 allows you to automatically back up important files and documents to an external location. You can then recover them in a pinch.

That critical and irreplaceable file you were viewing the other day in Windows is lost or won’t open. Are you in trouble? Not if you’ve been using File History.

Available in Windows 10 and Windows 11, File History will automatically save specific file folders to a backup device, thus allowing you to recover a previous version of a file should it go missing or become corrupted and unusable.

In Windows 10, File History is relatively simple to set up and use; in Windows 11, it’s more difficult to find and implement. The major limitation with File History on both OSes is that it only backs up files from specific folders, such as Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop, as well as any offline OneDrive files stored on your PC. You can no longer add other folders to the mix as you were able to do with previous versions of Windows.

If you need to back up any files not saved in the default folders, Microsoft suggests that you add them to one of these folders. If that’s not workable, you should consider a third-party backup program with more options and greater flexibility than File History. Otherwise, here’s how to set it up and save your important documents, photos, and files before something goes wrong.

The File History feature in Windows 10 is an easy, set it and forget it way to back up data. After you set it up on your desktop or laptop computer, it automatically backs up a variety of folders, including Documents, Contacts, and Pictures. You can customize what File History backs up by adding or excluding folders.

File History stores the backups locally. These backups are convenient if you accidentally delete a file or folder, or want to restore a previous version of a file. You can restore an entire folder, as well as single and multiple files.

Note that if your computer gets infected with a certain type of malware called ransomware, all your local backup files could get encrypted. If you do not have offsite backups, you could lose all your data. That is why it is very important to make sure you also have a professional backup solution in place in addition to using Windows File History.

Restoring a Folder

Restoring a folder from a backup is simple. For example, suppose you notice that a folder named “Business Presentations” is missing from your Documents folder. You probably accidentally deleted it, but you are not sure when that happened. To restore the folder and all its contents, follow these steps:

  1. Type “restore” in Windows 10’s search box and then click “Restore your files with File History” in the search results.
  2. The File History window will open, displaying all of the backed up folders. Double-click the Documents folder.
  3. By default, the File History window displays the contents of the most recent backup of the Documents folder. Check to see whether the Business Presentations folder is in that backup. If not, use the left arrow button at the bottom of the window to scroll through older backups. Clicking the right arrow button will take you to more recent backups if you go back too far. When you find the most recent version of the Business Presentations folder, check the box next to it.
  4. Click the green restore button. After the folder is restored, File Explorer will open and display the restored Business Presentations folder.
  5. Close the File History window.

Restoring a File through File Explorer

In Windows 10, File Explorer includes a “History” option that you can use to access backed up folders and files. For instance, suppose you made some changes to the “Sales Summary” report in the Documents folder, but a few days later you decide that you like the old version better. To restore an older version of the file through File Explorer, follow these steps:

  1. In File Explorer, open the Documents folder by double-clicking it.
  2. Check the box next to the “Sales Summary” report.
  3. On the Home tab in the ribbon, click the “History” option to open the File History window.
  4. Find the version of the file you want to restore by using the right and left arrow buttons. The report’s contents will be displayed, so you will be able to tell whether it is the version you want.
  5. After you find the desired version of the report, click the restore button.
  6. Because the Documents folder already contains a file named “Sales Summary”, a box will pop up letting you know about this issue. It will give you three options:
    • “Replace the file in the destination”: Click this option if you want to replace the old version of the report with the version you are restoring. After the file is restored, File Explorer will open and display the restored file.
    • “Skip this file”: Select this option if you decide not to restore the file. This option sends you back to the File History window.
    • “Compare info for both files”: Choose this option if you want to keep both the existing file and the one you are restoring. Clicking this option opens another box that shows the last modified date and size of each file. You can choose to keep the existing file, the backed up file, or both by checking the boxes next to them. Afterward, click the “Continue” button. If you chose to keep both files, File Explorer will open and display both files after the restoration is complete. The restored report will be named “Sales Summary (2)”.
  7. Close the File History window.

Restoring a Group of Files

You can restore more than one file at a time. However, the files need to originate from the same folder. Plus, you need to restore the files from the same backup. For example, suppose you deleted last year’s “Sales by Month” and “Sales by Quarter” spreadsheets from the Documents folder at the beginning of the month. Now you want to restore the spreadsheets so that you can use them as a template for this year’s reports. Follow these steps:

  1. Type “restore” in Windows 10’s search box and then click “Restore your files with File History” in the search results.
  2. Double-click the Documents folder in the File History window.
  3. Find the last backup that contains both the “Sales by Month” and “Sales by Quarter” spreadsheets. Check the boxes next to those files.
  4. Click the restore button. After the files are restored, File Explorer will open and display them in the Documents folder.
  5. Close the File History window.

A Good Supplemental Backup Tool

With File History, backing up and restoring the files and folders on your own computer is easy. You should also consider setting up File History on your employees’ computers. That way, your employees can restore their own files, which can be a timesaver for the person responsible for backups.

In addition to using File History, Microsoft recommends that businesses perform complete computer backups. That way, you can restore a computer’s entire system if needed. While File History backs up the user’s data, it does not back up the operating system, applications, and systems settings. We can help you set up a comprehensive backup solution that will fully protect your business’s computer systems and data.

Robert wants to know if Windows 7’s built-in backup program is worth using.

Microsoft has a history of bundling really bad backup programs with their operating systems. The company has been accused of a lot of monopolistic behavior, but their backup programs often seemed designed to not threaten the market for third-party competitors.

So I wasn’t prepared to like Windows 7’s Backup and Restore. But much to my amazement, I kind of do. How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10It does image backups for system protection and file backups for regular data protection–and does both for the Home Premium as well as the Business and Ultimate editions. For file backups, it defaults to backing up exactly what you should be backing up (libraries, appdata, and a few other important folders), and lets you tell it to back up any other folders you want to protect.

Backup and Restore can backup files incrementally, saving only those created and changed since the last backup. And it does versioning–if several versions of a file have been backed up, you can pick which you want to restore. It defaults to restoring the most recent backup, and generally avoids the confusion that versioning causes in some people.

And it’s all very easy and direct.

Not that it’s perfect. Backup and Restore allows you to pick which drive you wish to backup to, but won’t let you pick a folder in that drive. It can be pretty picky about restoring an image, to the point where I wouldn’t use it for image backup. You can save to a network, but not over the Internet. If you’re looking for something better, see 7 Backup Strategies for Your Data, Multimedia, and System Files.

PC World Senior Editor Robert Strohmeyer (full disclosure: He’s my editor) created a video showing how to set up a scheduled, automatic backup with Backup and Restore. But since I don’t believe in automatic backups–at least not to local media like an external hard drive–I’ll tell you how to back it up manually.

(What do I have against automatic backups? For them to work, the backup media must always be available. This is fine if you’re backing up over a network or the Internet, but an external drive that’s connected to your PC 24/7 is vulnerable to the same disasters that could destroy the data on your internal hard drive. It’s best to connect a backup drive only when you need to.)

To launch the program, simply click Start, type backup, and select Backup and Restore. Plug in your external hard drive and click Set up backup. Make your own decisions in the setup wizard, but when you get to the last page, click Change schedule. Uncheck Run backup on a schedule (recommended), and click OK. You’re set up.

To back up your data (and you should do this every day), plug in the external drive, launch Backup and Restore as described above, and click Back up now.

Why you want the ultimate safety net.

How to restore system image backups on windows 7 8 and 10

Not entirely correct. An image created by most backup

It just won’t work to restore everything else (Windows, your programs, and the like).

Let me explain how it works.

Image backups for data

Image backups are perfect for backing up and restoring data files because by definition, they include everything, regardless of whether you thought something was worth backing up. Besides restoring an entire image backup, you can also extract individual files.

Image is everything

That’s important because it relieves you of having to decide what is and is not “Just my data”. Not only does “my data” often mean different things to different people, it’s also often scattered around different locations on your hard disk.

An image backup avoids missing something important in your backup of “just my data”.

An image has everything, whether or not you’ll need it.

You’re more flexible than you think

The “trick”, if you want to call it that, is just because you created an image of your entire disk, it doesn’t mean you have to restore the entire image .

You can use image backups in either of two ways:

  • You can restore the entire image. This returns the drive to the exact state it was in at the time you created the backup. This includes all data, files, programs, and settings.
  • You can extract individual files from the image, thereby restoring “just your data”.

That second point is the important one. By creating an image, you didn’t need to decide what files were important; you backed up everything. It’s not until you need to restore something that you can go back to the image and know that whatever you need is there for restoration.

Extracting what you need

How you extract files from an image depends on the tool you’re using. And yes, some image backup programs don’t include the ability to extract individual files. (If you find yourself stuck with such an image, restore it to a secondary hard drive and then copy off the files you need.)

But most — including my two recommendations, Macrium Reflect and EaseUS Todo — do include the ability.

The biggest issue with images is that they can be large. Even compressed (which, again, most backup programs will do) they can easily add up to many gigabytes in size. But there’s a lot of security knowing that every file that was on your hard drive is in the image.

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

The File History feature in Windows 10 and Windows 11 allows you to automatically back up important files and documents to an external location. You can then recover them in a pinch.

That critical and irreplaceable file you were viewing the other day in Windows is lost or won’t open. Are you in trouble? Not if you’ve been using File History.

Available in Windows 10 and Windows 11, File History will automatically save specific file folders to a backup device, thus allowing you to recover a previous version of a file should it go missing or become corrupted and unusable.

In Windows 10, File History is relatively simple to set up and use; in Windows 11, it’s more difficult to find and implement. The major limitation with File History on both OSes is that it only backs up files from specific folders, such as Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop, as well as any offline OneDrive files stored on your PC. You can no longer add other folders to the mix as you were able to do with previous versions of Windows.

If you need to back up any files not saved in the default folders, Microsoft suggests that you add them to one of these folders. If that’s not workable, you should consider a third-party backup program with more options and greater flexibility than File History. Otherwise, here’s how to set it up and save your important documents, photos, and files before something goes wrong.