Image Backup via Windows 10 Backup and Recovery tools

There are many Image Backup tools but I like these because they are built into Windows…

Instructions for using Windows 10 Backup and Recovery tools
This is technically challenging - Proceed at your own risk
Caution: Recovery writes over all your Windows system files

Image Backup Filesize considerations:
The plan is to create one big system image file of your entire C:\ drive and write that image to a second/separate harddrive. That image will contain all of your Windows software and loaded Apps. This works best if you already have a PC with two harddrives and you already keep your personal files (documents, pictures, videos, music, etc) on a separate harddrive from your Windows system files as shown below. If you have a large amount of personal files on the same disk as your Windows system files then don’t do this because it will be cumbersome and will take forever to run. A good rule of thumb is (30GB to 40GB of used space) on your C:\ harddrive. To conserve space cleanup extra files like Windows.old using the Windows Disk Cleanup tool.

  • C:\ Windows System Files
  • D:\ Personal files (documents, pictures, videos, music, etc)
Though it could work with an external harddrive if you have a small amount of personal files, like this:
  • C:\ Windows System Files and a small amount (5 or 10 GB) of personal files
  • F:\ external USB harddrive

Introduction:
Backup will create a large file folder named WindowsImageBackup on the backup drive that you specify in “Set up backup”. If you want to save multiple versions of your backups you can rename them prefixed with the date/suffixed with username as shown below. However, you will have to rename it back to WindowsImageBackup in order to recover from that image because Windows Recovery will only recognize that one specific filename. You cannot use flashdrives for this, only internal/external harddrives. This is computer specific. That is, you cannot backup one computer and recover on a different computer. Too many variables such as different devices, different motherboard chipsets, etc.

  • 2016-12-03-WindowsImageBackup-John
  • WindowsImageBackup

Instructions for Backup:
Click Start/Settings/Update & security
> Click “Backup” in the left pane
> Click “Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7)”

First time only you will have to “Set up backup”
>Choose which disk to save image on and Click Next
>Select “Let me choose” and Click Next
>Clear all checked boxes for Data Files and Computer
>Check box to Include a system image of drives and Click Next
>Verify Backup Location and System image Included in backup
and click Save settings and exit

>Click “Back up Now” to create a System image on your backup drive

Instructions for Recovery:
Caution: Recovery writes over all your Windows system files
Click Start/Settings/Update & security
> Click “Recovery” in the left pane
> Click Advanced Startup “Restart now”
Your Windows System will restart in recovery mode

Click Troubleshoot/Reset your PC or see advanced options
>Click Advanced options
>Click System Image Recovery/Recover Windows using a specific system image file
Your Windows System will appear to restart again
But it is Preparing System Image Recovery

At System Image Recovery
>Choose an account by clicking the username

At Hi your-username
>Enter the password (if any) for this account and click Continue

At Select a system image backup
Windows will scan for “latest available system image (recommended)”
>verify your desired date/time on the latest available system image
>Click Next

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STOP - The next step is a point of no return
You can opt out at the next step by clicking Cancel and then clicking Continue/Exit and continue to Windows 10
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At Re-image your computer don’t check any boxes,
Click Next to recover your PC to the system image
Everything on your C:\ Primary Partition will be overwritten with the system image

Windows 10 also has a Reset to Factory Defaults option like your cell phone
Instructions for “Reset this PC”:
Click Start/Settings/Update & security
> Click “Recovery” in the left pane
> Click Reset this PC “Get started”
> Click one of two options (Keep my personal files or Remove everything)
Your Windows System will proceed with “Getting things ready”, and then present a notification “Your Apps will be removed” as a scrollable list of Apps that will be removed and will need to be reinstalled manually
> Click Next (after you remember which Apps will be gone)

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STOP - The next step is a point of no return
You can opt out at the next step by clicking Cancel and then clicking Continue/Exit and continue to Windows 10
--------------------------------------------

At Ready to Reset this PC
Click Reset
Everything on your C:\ Primary Partition will go back to your first Windows install

Oh, this is computer specific. You cannot backup one computer and recover on a different computer. Too many variables such as different devices, different motherboards, etc.

True, maybe, but with many qualifications. I use the free version of Macrium Reflect, and it is possible to restore on different hardware.

Recovery to a different computer seems like it would cause problems. For starters, there’s Microsoft Windows activation. Your Windows Product Key is usually authorized and activated only for one specific computer. So your Windows OS would no longer be activated, and therefore you could no longer receive Windows updates.

You might also lose other capabilities, for example printing, if you restore to a computer with a different printer.

That’s why I prefer the precision of the Microsoft image Backup and Recovery.

Oh, even different motherboard chipsets too. I don’t see how that would work?? I’m guessing you are just saying it is possible but you have not actually recovered an image file to a different computer.

That’s true. I’m relying on the documentation. Perhaps I should have been more clear in this regard. Consider me chastened.