Windows' built-in backup programs are pretty solid. Let's look at how you can create a complete backup image of your PC without the need for a third-party utility.
- Open the System Backup Image Tool. In Windows 1
- Select where you want to save the backup image.
- Select the drives to back up.
- Start backup.
- Optionally, create a system repair disc that will allow you to boot your computer and restore a backup image.
Normal backup programs such as CrashPlan or the built-in Windows "History" feature copy your files to another location. A system image backup, on the other hand, is like a full snapshot of an entire disk. The benefit of a system image is that if a drive crashes, the drive can be replaced, the image can be restored, and the system is as it was when the image was captured. Windows or your apps do not need to be reinstalled.
The biggest drawback to system image backups is that it takes a little longer for you to be unable to restore the backup to another PC. You create an image of your full Windows installation. Since Windows is specially set up for your hardware, it does not work as it is on another PC. It would be like trying to connect the drive to another PC and expect everything to load well. With that in mind, image backups can still be very handy.
Third-party apps like Macrium Reflect or Acronis True Image – at least the paid versions – offer some advanced features that you will not find Windows System Image Backup Tool. For example, both incremental backups and password-protected images and the ability to search for individual files backups. Free, however, is free, and if you do not need the extra features, the Windows tool provides a solid way to perform a full backup of your system.
Step 1: Open the System Image Backup
The System Image Backup tool differs from Windows 8 and 10 in Windows 7. Therefore, we show you how to find the tool in all versions, and then explain how the system image is created and used.
Open System Image Backup Windows 10
In Windows 10, click Start, type "backup" and select the entry.
In the "Backup and Restore (Windows 7)" window, click on "Create a system image" link.
Open System Image Backup in Windows 8
In Windows 8, click Start, type "file history" and select "File History".
Click the System Image Backup link in the File History window.
Open System Image Backup in Windows 7
Click Start, click the arrow to the right of the "Getting Started" entry, and then click " Save your files. "
 In the Backup and Restore window, click the Create a System Image link.
Step 2: Create a System Image Backup
When you create the System Image Tool, the steps for creating a system image in Windows 7, 8, or 10 are the same.
The first time you open the tool, it scans for external drives. You can then decide where you want to save the image. It can be an external drive, multiple DVDs, or a network. Select the location where you want to save the backup and click Next.
By default, the tool only backs up your system drive. If you want, you can include other drives. Keep in mind that this increases the size of the final image. Normally, we create separate image backups for each drive.
On the confirmation screen, notice how much disk space the image needs. If something does not look right, you can still go back and make adjustments. If everything is ok, click on the "Start backup" button.
You will see a progress bar as the tool creates the image.
It may take a while. In this example, we back up a drive with about 319 GB of data. The backup on an external hard drive connected via USB to our PC took about 2.5 hours. Your time depends on your PC and the type of storage to be backed up.
Third Step: Creating a System Repair Disk
RELATED: Creating and Using a Recovery Drive or System Repair Disc on Windows 8 or 10
When the backup completes Windows allows you to create a system repair disk. You can use this CD to boot your PC and restore your image backup should you ever need to replace your hard drive and not start Windows. It is strongly recommended that you create the disc, label it and keep it in a safe place.
Select the drive you want to use to create the disc and click the "Create Disc" button
If the image is to be restored, You can boot your PC from the Recovery CD to access a range of recovery tools, including System Image Recovery.
RELATED: Restoring system image backups on Windows 7, 8, and 10
Creating a Image Backup Can Take Some Time It is best to do this if you do not need your computer for a few hours or even overnight, so should there be a need, if you need to use this backup, please read our complete How To Restore Guide Image backups in Windows.