Windows 10 is probably the most stable and user-friendly operating system Microsoft has released since Windows 7. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t run into major problems at some point. I always try to create a complete system image of my Windows 10 PC every few months.
When you create a system image, you can restore the entire OS back to the same hard drive or a new one, and it will include all your installed programs, settings, etc. Even though Windows 10 is a good improvement over Windows 7 , it still uses the same imaging option as Windows 7! Windows 10 has a new feature called Reset This PC, but it’s not as versatile as backing up a system image.
You can keep your personal files or delete everything, but in both cases, you will lose all your programs and applications. It also assumes that the current hard drive is still working properly. If the drive fails completely, you’re out of luck because you won’t be able to access the Reset This PC feature.
This is always fine, but you should have a complete system image that can be restored regardless of the state of Windows or your hard drive.
Create a Windows 10 system image
A lot of people like to use third-party software for this, and it’s understandable. In fact, I wrote an article on five free disk imaging utilities that do a great job. These third-party programs usually have more features than the built-in Windows tool.
I personally create multiple system images using different tools because I found that sometimes problems can occur for different reasons when trying to restore a backup. Now let’s start creating a system image! First, open Control Panel in Windows 10. For now, if you go to Backup in the Settings app, it will simply link to the Control Panel option.
Click Backup and Restore (Windows 7). Don’t forget to change the view to small or large icons to see the list of items.
Now you can create a backup in two ways. You can either click the Create System Image link on the left and back up the entire system one time, or click Configure Backup in the far right corner (not shown in the image), which will create a system image. and perform scheduled backups of important files on your computer.
I suggest using the Customize Backup option, as this will allow you to restore individual files in case of accidental deletion. However, you should only do this if the backup is on a separate disk on your computer. There is no point in backing up to a different partition on the same hard drive. I’m only doing a system image because all my files are stored in the cloud anyway, so it depends on your situation.
If you click Create System Image, you will be asked where you want to save the backup image. There are three options: on your hard drive, on one or more DVDs, or on a network folder. In my case, I selected a different drive installed on my system.
Next, you will need to select the drives to back up. By default, Windows will select the system partition, recovery partition, and EFI system partition. You can add any additional disks if you want.
At the bottom you will see how much space is required for the backups and how much space is available on the target drive. Finally, you will see a summary and you can start the backup by clicking Start Backup.
The backup process will take some time depending on how much data needs to be backed up and how fast your target drive is.
After the backup is complete, you will be asked if you want to create a system recovery disc. I highly recommend doing this immediately, as you will need it to recover your computer in case something goes wrong.
You can always create it later, but this is a risk. Once you have created a backup, you will not see any indication of it in the backup and restore dialog box as it is just a system image. However, if you go to the backup location, you will see a folder called WindowsImageBackup.
Please note that you cannot access the contents of this folder, or even check its size, etc. It belongs to the system and cannot be read or accessed by any user, not even an administrator. Now that you have one backup of your system, be sure to create another using a different tool, just in case. Enjoy!