I know there are many ways to create a Windows backup. There is no such thing as too many backs. If you can make a backup of the backup, JUST DO IT. 🙂
Ever heard about System Image Back utility? If not… It’s built in feature of Windows that make it super easy to make an exact copy of your entire computer.
Let me explain what it does and how to use it.
What is Image Backup?
The image backup feature in Windows 10 & Windows 8.1 makes a bit by bit copy of your enter system. This backup include full operating system, all the custom settings of the system, all installed applications including Windows store apps and your personal files.
The benefit of this awesome Windows feature is to allow user a complete restore of machine resulting from unforeseen situation such as hardware failure of software critical errors.
The only downside of Windows Image back up is that you will not be able to restore individual files. (It’s all or nothing kinda deal). The good news is you can easily access the back files (bit-by-bit) once the image is applied back to working system.
You also need to ensure, if you do not back your system regularly and if the failure occurs, you could potentially lose import documents, settings and software because Windows only allows restore from last backup.
In order to address these and many other reasons, Microsoft introduced two new features in Windows 8.X and Windows 10.
- Factory Reset Feature
- File History Feature
Combination of above two features offers best robust backup solution.
Despite some drawback’s if utilized properly, it’s a solid backup solution for any Windows user.
How to perform an image backup in Windows 8.1 or 10
- Launch Control Panel (There are several ways to get to control pantel. I’m typing Control Panel in search box and selecting Control Panel).
- Change the View to “Large or Small Icon”. Catagory View doesn’t show all the options avaliable under Control Panel.
- Click “File History”
- Connect an external USB harddrive or USB Stick with enough space. As an alternative you can also use mapped drive or any other storage device connected to your machine. Just make sure you have enough Free disk space.
- Optional Step: If the option ” Keep a history of your files” is turned OFF. Turn it ON.
- Click the “System Image Backup” link in the bottom-left corner of the screen.
- Click “Setup Back”
- Choose your desired storage device and click “Next”. In my case I’m selecting “D”
- Select “Let Windows Choose (Recommended)” and Click “Next”
- Wait for the Progress bar to complete the Image Backup
The process of backup can take between 10 minutes to 3 hours depending on the amount of data and kind of hardware (e,g CPU, RAM, SSD vs Spindle Harddrive) on your device. This process can run in background while user is performing other tasks on the computer.
Your turn now… How often do you perform full backup of your computer? What kind of software do you use? Let me know your backup experience in comments below!
Btw: If you learnt anything from this article, a social media share will highly be appreciated. 🙂
File History in Windows 10 is fatally flawed and for me failed to save many files that RoboCopy saved correctly. When FileHistory fails to save a file or more likely several files, it saves the fail information in a log file, but does not alert the user effectively. Users may realise the problem when they need to restore a backup and cannot find some files. I started using PowerShell once I found File History was flaky. PowerShell can be used with RoboCopy scripts and makes for a more robust backup environment. Incremental backups like File History supports are possible. I do use File History, since it is very simple to set up. I use a PowerShell script to run RoboCopy for more important backups.
Something like AOMEI Backupper is useful for making compressed backups of, for example, system partitions and allows fast restoration. I make sure all Microsoft bloatware is removed, settings are as desired and certain utilities have been installed before performing a system image backup. Disk Cleanup needs to be run first to remove the garbage that builds up over time. My Windows 10 Pro image is under 9Gb. Windows offers to save the same in over 21Gb. Not much of a choice and AOMEI Backupper is not expensive – free for home use when I downloaded it.