How to create a system image in Windows 10

A system image is a one to one copy of your operating system drive used to quickly recover your computer if anything happens. If you work or depend on your computer, it’s useful to have one of these images around for if the worst happens. You can rebuild your computer from an image ISO as always, but it is much, much faster to use a system image.

Another advantage of using a system image is that you can create one of your fully functional, fully customized and personalized Windows 10 computer. All your programs, settings, files and everything else can be included within this image. That alone saves a ton of work if anything happens to your main drive.

Create a system image

You will need a backup hard drive or network drive with several gigabytes of free space. The exact size the image will take depends entirely on how you have your computer set up.

  1. Type Control Panel into the Windows Search box.
  2. Navigate to File History and then System Image Backup in the bottom left corner.
  3. Select Create a System Image.
  4. A new window will appear as Windows searches for a suitable backup location. Select your backup drive or location.
  5. Select Start backup.
  6. Wait for the process to complete.

Depending on the size of the image and speed of your computer, this could take from ten minutes to a couple of hours. It will use from a couple of GB of space to perhaps a couple dozen GB. It all depends on how you have Windows set up and how much stuff you have loaded onto it.

Restore Windows from a system image

So that’s the creation phase done with. So now how do you restore a computer using a system image? If you can boot into Windows, you use Steps 1 and 2 above. From there you can use Restore from System Image to recover.

If Windows doesn’t boot, use your installation media and boot from that. Select Troubleshoot instead of Install Windows and the System Image Recovery option after that.

If you create a system image, any data loss from a hard drive failure should be minimal. You can have your computer up and running within the hour and be working or playing as if nothing ever happened!

If you cannot restore your computer or the system image won’t work, bring your computer to Dave’s Computers in New Jersey. We will be happy to help!