How to create a full backup or restore your Windows 10 PC

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Corrupted windows system. Now you may be thinking you should have created a backup of your system. in this guide, we will show you the steps to create backup and protect your system and data using Windows 10 system image backup tool .

Sooner or later the hard drive on your computer will fail, affected by malware, critical errors or corrupted data. If you don't create regular backups, you could lose important documents, and settings that you may have spent hours configuring on your device or some important personal data like memorable pictures.

On Windows 10, there are multiple ways to backup your system and data without using third-party solutions, for this we are going to use built-in system image tool of windows 10. It is also available in windows 8 and windows 7.

A system image is a backup contains everything stored on your computer, including the complete installation of Windows system, settings, applications, and all your data, also additional connected drives if you have connected it to system during backup. If your system fails, you can use the system image backup to restore your computer, getting you up and running in a matter of minutes on the same or different hard drive from the same system configuration you had when you last backup was created.

In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through the steps to create a full system backup, including all your settings, apps, and files, using the built-in system image tool.

How to create a system image backup of Windows 10

While you can store the backup on a secondary drive, network location, and blanks DVDs, it's best to connect to external storage for backup, which you can quickly disconnect and store in a safe place without any problem.

To create a full backup using Windows 10's system image tool, you need to connect external storage with enough available space. Your connected media should have enough space for system backup. If you don't know how much space will be needed for full system backup, you can see space requirement during the backup creation.

Here's how:

1. Open Control Panel.
2. Click on System and Security.
3. Click on Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

4. On the left pane, click the Create a system image link.

5. Under "Where do you want to save the backup?" select the On a hard disk option. You can select another if you want.
6. Using the "On a hard disk" drop-down menu, select the storage to save the backup . But i am Using network location for this backup because i have no external drive for now and taking backup on same drive is not a good option but you can have a backup on same drive or external drive. Click Next after backup location selection.

7. Select drives you want to include in backup.

8. Review your backup settings and Click the Start backup button

Once you completed these steps, the wizard will proceed to create a full backup of your system, including everything that is stored on the main drive, as well as the system reserved partition. The file included in backup depend on the drives you have selected during the backup creation wizard.

One more point to note here is during the backup process, Windows 10 will also use Shadow Copy, a technology that allows you to create a backup while files are still in use, which means that you can continue to work normally as the image is being created.

After the backup is process is completed, you'll be prompted to create a system repair disk to access the recovery options if your computer is unable to boot or corrupted. While it's recommended to create the repair disc, you can always access the recovery options using a bootable USB drive with the installation files for Windows 10.

Quick tip: You can always create a repair disc by clicking the Create a system repair disc link within the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) settings page.

Finally, if you have used external backup drive disconnect it and keep it a safe place. This is not needed for a network location.

How to restore a system image backup of Windows 10

If your computer won't boot, you want to start over with a previous installation, or you're replacing the main hard drive on your device, use these steps to recover from a backup:

1. Connect the external drive with the system image backup to your device, no need for network location only requirement to connect to the backup system network.
2. Connect the disk that contains the system repair files or USB bootable drive with the Windows 10 installation files to your system.
3. Reboot your computer.

Quick tip: If your device isn't booting into the Windows Setup wizard, you'll need to change your system's BIOS settings for boot order to make sure it can boot from the USB or DVD drive first. Usually, you can access the BIOS by starting your device and hitting one of the functions or ESC keys, but make sure to check your manufacturer's support website for more information. For one time boot option no need to set boot order from BIOS setup just press boot selection key for you system. To check which one you need to press check manufacturer's support website. 

4. On the "Windows Setup" page, click the Next button.

5. Click the Repair your computer link located at the bottom-left corner.

6. Click the Troubleshoot option.

7. Click the System Image Recovery option.

8. Choose the target OS. (For now, Windows 10.)

9. On the "Re-image your computer" page, select the Use the latest available system image option.

10. Click Next.

Quick Note : If you're restoring a full backup to a new drive, you can also select the Format and re-partition disks option. (Use this option carefully, as it will erase any existing partitions and disks on your computer.)

11. Click Next.

12. Click Finish.

13. Click Yes to confirm that the backup will replace the existing data on the drive.

After completing theses steps, the system recovery process will begin. Remember that the time to finish the recovery will depend upon the amount of data and your hardware configuration. bigger recover image equals more time.

If your back created long ago, remember to use Windows Update on the Settings app to download the latest security patches.

Usually, a full system image backup comes in handy to create a copy of your entire system before upgrading to a new version of Windows 10 in case something goes wrong or you want to rollback to a previous version or your system in taken over by a malware.

It's a good idea to create a full backup regularly in case of system or hardware failure, or after spending many hours configuring your system with a clean installation and applications. Then if something goes wrong, malware sneaks in, or you simply want to start from scratch, you can always restore your system with you fresh system backup without going for the same process of installation and configuration.

Any documents, settings, and apps you may have created, changed, or installed after the backup won't be recoverable through this process. So create your backup regularly or when you have made a big change in your system. This is a feature designed to recover your entire system, not to restore files, settings, and applications individually, for this you can use third party software.

Although this guide is focused on Windows 10, the system image backup tool has been around for years, which means that you can also refer to these instructions if you're using Windows 8.1 or Windows 7.

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