Backing Up Windows 7

Blaine's picture
If you ever wanted to restore Windows from a backup and have it be like nothing ever happened, you can use Windows Backup to make a complete system backup.

Windows Backup can help save your computer

So here's the scenario: You have a brand new computer which you just bought (or got provided as a present - we hope) and want to ensure that years from now, you will still be able to use it. There's several things you can do to ensure this happens:

  • The first and foremost thing you want to make sure you do is create a backup image of your computer from day one. This will allow you in a day, week, month, or year from now to be able to restore your computer to day one. So when things go bad, you will be able to have a brand new computer all over again. To do this, you want to make a system image so you can restore at a later time. Windows Backup provides you with the ability to create a system image, which is an exact image of a drive. A system image includes Windows and your system settings, programs, and files. You can use a system image to restore the contents of your computer if your hard drive or computer ever stops working.
  • You can use System Restore to recover from errors during the install of new software, or to restore system files to a previous point in time. It's essentially a giant undo button, and by default is turned on with Windows 7. The nice thing about System Restore is you don't lose personal files. So those images you downloaded from your camera are still there - and your business proposal you spent all night working on is there as well.

So to start, you need to know how to make that initial backup. It's really quite easy.

  • Open Backup and Restore by clicking the on the Start button (the little windows symbol usually on the task bar in the bottom left corner), then click on Control Panel, then click System and Maintenance, and then clicking Backup and Restore. (Speed tip: You can also open the start menu and type in "Backup" and click on Backup and Restore)
  • Click on "Create a system image" in the left column.
  • Select where the image will be located. Typically, you would do this with the "On one or more DVDs" option, as this will allow you to have the backup located somewhere besides your computer.
  • After selecting where to make the image file, it will prompt you to indicate which drives you want to include in the backup. Typically, the drive with "(C:)(System)" is the only drive you are concerned with. This is the primary hard drive. Select this drive, and click next.
  • Confirm your backup settings, and click on "Start Backup"
  • NOTE: This potentially can take quite a few DVD disks, depending on how much you have installed on your computer already. Be prepared for this process to take a while (and a lot of blank DVDs)

After everything is backed up to your DVDs, make sure to label them and keep them in a safe place. These are your last ditch effort at restoring a computer which is bad off down the road. This is your lifeline to not spending hundreds of dollars to have your computer "fixed". If you want to backup your system with regular system restore points, do nothing - this feature is set by default with Windows 7. Smile warmly, knowing you are in safe hands.

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