Sunday, 20 January 2013

Windows 7 Built in Backup and System Image

Backing up is something we all know we should do but somehow we never quite get around to. With Windows 7 built-in backup there’s now no reason to put off backing up your data. Windows 7 comes not only with a simple and effective backup program but it also allows you to make a full image of your system. What’s the difference between backing up and imaging? Well put simply Windows 7 backup makes a copy of your Documents whilst Windows 7 System Image makes a complete copy of your hard drive. With the latter if something goes terribly wrong you can easily and relatively quickly put it all back as it once was. I said relatively… The advantage of Windows 7 Backup is that it is much faster. What I would recommend is that you image your system perhaps once every couple of months or just after installing some new software and that you backup your documents every day.

So how do we go about creating a System Image with Windows 7.

The backup and restore options can be found by going to Start, Control Panel, Backup and Restore . If that’s a bit too much like hard work you can just go to Start and in the Search Programs and Files window type in “Back” and select from the options Backup and Restore. This will open the window shown below.

To create a System image select Create a System Image from the top left of the window and in the next window choose where to save your image to.

In this example I am using an external hard drive, specifically a Western Digital My Passport USB 3 drive. The 1TB ones are now quite inexpensive and have tons of space. Should you want to you can create an image on a network drive or on DVD. But if you chose to make the image onto DVDs I suggest you make your self comfortable as it will take a while and a LOT of DVDs. In the next window you are shown what is going to be imaged and offered the option to include additional partitions. In this case I chose not to add the D partition to the image.

Click next and confirm your choices

And then start the backup

As the imaging process proceed Windows will show you its progress. Upon completion of the imaging process  you are asked if you want to create a System Repair disk. If you don’t already have one then make one now. You’ll need a DVD for this.

 Pop a DVD in and click Yes

Then click Create Disk

And that's it! Microsoft have made the process quite simple to follow.

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