Note From The Author, Gus
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With the amount of personal and financial data we store on our computers, it’s imperative we backup it up. In addition to daily incremental backups of data, you should also create a system image, so you may restore your system in case of hardware failure, or catastrophic occurrence.
In this article, we will look at creating a system image in Windows 7 using the built-in Backup and Restore utility, and three methods to restore images. Similar options are available in previous versions of Microsoft Windows, such as Vista and XP, though note that this utility is not available in any ‘Basic’ or ‘Home’ editions of any of the compatible operating systems.
Although this utility is limited on features, it does provide peace of mind. As mentioned above, losing your family photos, home videos, personal data, website logins, financial data, etc., would not be easy to fully recover from.
The backup and restore functions are very basic. The user interface is friendly, and should provide any level of computer user enough instruction to accomplish the task. Even so, we’ll go through all the basic steps below to creating an image.
Again, just know you’ll be limited on customizing your backup. One main feature not found in this utility that’s available in paid-for software applications, is restoring individual files from the image.
Once a backup is made, may I recommend you save it in an-site location, such as a safe deposit box. External portable hard drives are relatively cheap these days, and you could accomplish this by swapping drives every month, or on some other routine.
This process can be run during use of your computer, as the process uses something called ‘shadow copy’, which allows the copying of in-use files.
At the end of the creation process, you will be asked if you want to create a system repair disc. If you have not previously, it is strongly recommended. Simply follow the instructions.
Use this function to completely restore your computer. This is a great feature, should you ever have hardware failure, or disaster. There are three methods you can use to restore your computer to a previous point in time, and we’ll provide steps for all below.
This is the recommended method, though it can only be used if you can open a Windows session.
Use this method if you cannot access a Windows session, or you do not have a system repair disc. If you cannot access a Windows session, but have a system repair disc, use Method #3 below.
In summary, as you can see, either process is fairly basic, and most should find creating a system image as a necessary aspect of personal computing.