How To Make a System Image

How To Make a System Image

One of the advanced options available in the Windows Recovery Environment is System Image Recovery, this gives the user the possibility to restore an exact copy of the operating system he had installed when he made the system image. The only down-side to  a system image is, is that it uses a huge amount of storage space, to be precise, it uses the same amount of storage space as your using.

If you interested in how to restore a system image then read this article

Making a System Image.

It is important to make a system image if you have files, programs and settings that may never be lost in the current state, even if your system crashes, even if it gets formatted or the hard drive simply dies you want the possibility to restore the system as it is now. [alert-note]It is important to remember to use a drive that cannot be damaged or be lost at the same time of the drive your making the system image from. In other words, never make a system image on the same hard disk (not even a partition), use an external hard disk or make sure that you make the backup on another hard drive in your system.[/alert-note]

Creating the System Image

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  1. Open the Control Panel
    • Method 1: Open Start and type Control Panel
    • Method 2: Open the right charm bar, click on Settings, click on Control Panel
  2. Click on System
  3. Click on File History
  4. Click on System Image Backup2014-05-26_11-43-55 How To Make a System Image How To Make a System Image
  5. Windows will scan all available options, wait for this process to complete.2014-05-26_11-47-56 How To Make a System Image How To Make a System Image
  6. You can now choose where to make the backup, on a hard drive, on one or more DVDs or on a network location. The smartest thing to do, is to use an external hard drive or use a network location. 
  7. After you’ve selected the location, click on Next.
  8. You will now have the possibility to select which drives should be contained in the System Image. The operating system drive is always included!
  9. When you’re done selecting the drives, click on Next
  10. F0llow the steps on the screen, the backup will be created and saved on the location you specified.
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Restoring your system with a System Image

The first thing you’ll have to do is accessing the Windows Recovery Environment, without this, you cannot use your System Image to recover your system. You can reach Windows RE by using a USB Recovery Drive, Windows Installation Disc or trough the Start-up Recovery (if it fails). [alert-note]If you do not have one of these options to reach Windows RE but you do have a Windows 8 or 8.1 Retail Key then download Windows again and use the disc to reach it. Read more here; Download a Bootable Windows Disc[/alert-note]

Restoring your system

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  1. After accessing Windows RE click on Troubleshoot
  2. Now click on Advanced Options
  3. Now click on System Image Recovery
  4. Windows should not automatically search for the location of the System Image, make sure you have your hard disk connected.
[alert-warning]Network locations sometimes need a driver to be installed, in most cases Windows will automatically ask you this, for some Wi-Fi cards there seem to be no default drivers, attach a LAN cable to your device for those.[/alert-warning]
  1. When you are done choosing the location, click on Next
  2. If you wish to format the drives first, then in most cases you’ll have to install the drivers first, the instructions on the screen will help you do this
  3. When your ready to recover your system from the image click Next
  4. You will be showed information about the image, if this all checks out click Next
  5. You will receive a warning, read this carefully and click Yes

The process will start, wait for it to complete and follow all instructions on the screen.

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About The Author
Yuri Pustjens
Yuri Pustjens
2014, 2015 & 2016 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Windows Yuri specializes in troubleshooting (crash analysis and devices), system resource utilisation and system performance. He is also very interested in Customer Security. Yuri can be found as Windows Community Moderator and Wiki Author on Microsoft Answers and is active on different communities all across the web.

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