Nothing such as too much backup. If you can do a backup, do it. Fortunately, Windows makes it super easy to make an exact copy of your entire computer using the System Image Backup utility.
Never used it before? We will explain what it does and how to use it.
What is image backup?
The image backup feature in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 includes a bit-by-bit copy of the entire system. This backup contains the full installation of your operating system, settings, desktop programs, Windows apps, and all your files.
This feature’s main benefit is that it provides a complete recovery solution in critical software failure or hardware failure.
The downside is that you cannot choose to restore files individually. It is meant to fix everything, bit by bit, to the same hard drive (or replace). (Though, you can easily access the backup files and extract documents, photos, music, and other files, if needed.)
If you do not back up regularly and have a system failure, you may lose valuable documents, settings, and software because you can only restore data from the last backup.
For these and many other reasons, Microsoft introduced two new reset features in Windows 8, and they are still available in Windows 10. Use these features in conjunction with File History to keep a copy of All your documents are offered more than Powerful Backup Solution.
Despite some limitations, it’s a reliable backup solution.
I use System Image Backup for a base backup of my personal computer, including Windows installation, all the latest updates, particular configurations, and programs. To back up files, I use File History and OneDrive. Performing backups this way will avoid duplicate files and always update a copy of all my documents.
Suppose everything is working correctly on my computer. In that case, I use the backup feature in Windows for all those situations where I modified something on my system that could damage the installation—for example, testing an upgraded version to Windows 10 Technical Preview. In these cases, I plug in an external USB drive, activate the utility, and I’m good to go in less than 20 minutes. If something goes wrong after messing around with the OS, I can quickly go back to a previous state.
The following instructions are for performing an image backup in Windows 10, but these steps work perfectly in Windows 8.1.
How to perform an image backup in Windows 8.1 or 10
1 – Right-click the Start button and launch Control Panel.
2- Click File History.
3- In File History, click the System Image Backup link in the screen’s lower-left corner.
4- Connect the USB external hard drive with enough free space.
5- In the Backup Wizard, you will be prompted to select one of the three options to save the backup. For this example, we will choose the hard drive that you just connected. Note, however, that you can back up to a blank DVD and share the network, but these options will slow down the backup process.
6 – Click Next.
7- Confirm and start the process by clicking Start backup.
The backup can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours. It all depends on the amount of data backed up.
And yes, during the backup, you can use your computer as you usually would.
After the System Image Backup utility completes its task, remember to keep the hard drive in a safe place.
Although many tech-savvy users know how to do a full backup in Windows, you’ll be surprised at how many people don’t learn the basics. Often, I get asked questions like: “I upgraded my system, and now Windows won’t boot; how can I go back?”. Or “My hard drive crashed, is there a way to recover my data?”, And most simple backups could have saved them a lot of trouble.
How often do you do a full backup of your computer? What software do you use? Let us know your backup experience in the comments below!
Update: To restore your computer from backup, connect the drive to the system image backup, and restart your computer using the Windows installation media. During Windows Setup, click Next, then click the Repair your computer link in the screen’s bottom-left corner. Click Troubleshoot, click Advanced options, and select System Image Recovery. Now select the target operating system you want to restore, click Next, and Finish.