Whether it’s a home or office Windows 7 computer, how about backup? Windows 7 backup has a cool feature called System Image Backup. In this article, let me explain how to take Windows 7 system image backup and later in this blog I will explain how to restore it. So, is your Windows 7 fully backed up? If not, let’s create a system image backup.
Two Type of Backups in Windows 7
1) Choose the system state settings and personal files to backup. Read more about normal backup and how to take normal backup in Windows 7.
2) Create an entire disk image (System Image) back up.
The main difference between above Windows 7 backup types are;
In first backup type, when Windows 7 PC crashed and cannot be booted or accessed disks, you have to format the disk, install OS, drivers and all other programs. It’s a time consuming job. After you did these all then use the backup to restore Window 7. Because the backup data is accessible by ‘Backup and Restore’ in Control panel.
In second System image backup type, when Windows 7 PC crashed and cannot be booted or accessed disks, you just simply insert Windows 7 CD and restore System image backup directly without format drive; install OS, drivers and all programs. You get all settings, programs, files and everything which was in Windows 7 earlier. That’s why it’s called ‘Image backup’, simply restoring hard disk.
How to Create a System Image Backup in Windows 7
1) Go to Backup and Restore in Windows 7 control panel.
2) Click Create a System Image
3) In next screen select the destination you want to store backup.
It’s always advisable to store backup in different hard disk (Not partition). Because if your current hard disk crashes or not accessible, then no point in back up.
Use external hard disks if you have. But it must be formatted by NTFS file system.
If you select DVD as backup destination then you may need more DVDs. Because System Image backup will capture your entire hard disk (not free space) space. For example if you have 80GB data on 120GB partition, then your system image backup will take approximately 80GB space.
Network location also one more option available here.
Obviously, destination must have enough of space.
I selected my second hard disk partition ( G drive) as backup destination.
4) Next screen to select the partitions to include in system image backup. Some of the partitions cannot be deselected because of system requirement.
Windows 7 System image backup must have the system and boot partitions.
System Partition is the Active partition having MBR (Master Boot Record).
Boot partition is the one having Windows folder of Operating System Windows 7.
If you have only one operating system installed on computer, then System and boot partition will be same. If you have more than one OS, it may change. In this example I have Windows 7 with Windows XP. So system and boot partitions are different and I can’t deselect any of them in System image backup.
You can select other partitions if you want. Press Next.
5) After confirm backup settings, press Start backup.
6) Depends on the size of partition system image backup will take time. After the completion you can find backup data at destination.
7) Normally Windows 7 system image backup stored in destination WindowsImageBackup and Computer name.
8) That’s it Windows 7 System image backup is ready. This backup contains all data on my drive C and E as on taken date. I can restore this backup just by Windows 7 installation CD with few clicks if my Windows 7 PC crashes.
9) If you run similar System Image backup on same drive again, Windows 7 will delete the old backup if it requires space.
10) More information about keeping different versions of system images from Windows 7 help.
“If you’re saving your system images on an internal or external drive, or on CDs or DVDs, you can keep several versions of system images. On internal and external hard drives, older system images will be deleted when the drive runs out of space. To help conserve disk space, you can manually delete older system images
If you’re saving your system images in a network location, you can only keep the most current system image for each computer. System images are saved in the format of drive\WindowsImageBackup\computer name\. If you have an existing system image for a computer and are creating a new one for the same computer, the new system image will overwrite the existing one. If you want to keep the existing system image, you can copy it to a different location before creating the new system image by following these steps:
1. Navigate to the location of the system image.
2. Copy the WindowsImageBackup folder to a new location. “
I’m sure this post would have explained about purpose on Windows 7 system image backup and how to take it. Let me know if you face any issues.