How To Create and Store a System Image in Windows 7

This tutorial will take you step by step through the process to create a System Image in Windows 7 to use in case you need to restore your PC.

If you’ve just bought a new Windows 7 PC or just did a fresh install, creating a system image can save you a lot of time if you need to reinstall. Here we take a look at creating a System Image, a Restore Disc, and storing the image.

After getting a new PC (or reformatting one you already have) it’s a good idea to install all of the Windows updates, latest drivers and of course the software you use. If you create a System Image now, in case of a hard drive failure or the next time you want to reformat, it will save you a lot of time getting your PC back to how it was.

1. To get started creating an image of your Windows 7 system, click the Start Menu and type backup into the search field and then click Backup and Restore.

backup and restore in the Windows 7 Control Panel

2. Alternately, you can click the Start Menu then Getting Started > Backup up your files

windows start menu backup your files entry

3. When Backup and Restore launches, click the Create a system image link in the left panel.

an arrow pointing to the Create a system image link in the Windows Control Panel

4. Windows will start looking for backup devices. If you want to use an external hard drive, make sure it’s plugged in so it’ll be detected.

windows searching for a backup device

5. You’ll be asked where you want to save the system image backup. You can choose an internal or external hard drive, a network location, and even go the “old school” route and burn it to DVDs. Keep in mind that if you store you’re image on your network,  you’ll  want to have your network card drivers handy so it can find the image.

For this tutorial we’re using an external hard drive that was already plugged into the machine then click Next.

setting up the create system image Windows

6. Next you’ll get an overview of where you’ve selected to store the image file and what drives will be backed up. If everything looks correct click on Start Backup.

choosing a backup location in Windows

7. You’ll then see a progress dialog while the backup process completes. You can stop the backup process from this window if you need to as well.

Windows doing the create system image

a successfully created Windows system image message prompt

8. After the backup process is complete, you’re given the option to create a system repair disc. It’s recommended you make one if you haven’t already so you can use it to boot your PC and re-image it. Make sure to keep the repair disc in a safe location in case you need it if disaster strikes and your PC goes down.

creating a system repair disk in Windows 7

9. A wizard will start up so you can create the disc. Just pop in a CD or DVD in your drive and click Create Disc.

selecting a disc to use when creating a system repair disc

10. Then wait while the Repair Disc is created.

windows creating a repair disc

11. Success! You’ll be given a reminder to label the disc with the correct version of the OS, where in this example we created on for our Windows 7 64-bit system.

the final screen in the create a system repair disc wizard

12. When the entire process of creating a system image and System Restore Disc has completed, it’s not a bad idea to check the external hard drive where should see the following files and folders. You don’t need to worry about what the files mean at this point. When you need to re-image your machine, you’ll boot from the Restore Disc and then point to the location of the image files.

a windows file manager with backup folders listed

You’re done! Now if you need to reformat your computer for any reason, you’ll be able to get everything back to the way it was when you created the image. Remember that the image will be an exact copy of your hard drive at the time you created the image. Make sure you’re backing up your files and folders regularly so if the worst happens you’ll be able to easily restore those too.

The ability to create a System Image is available in all versions of Windows 7, both 32 & 64-bit.

If this article helped you, I'd be grateful if you could share it on your preferred social network - it helps me a lot. If you're feeling particularly generous, you could buy me a coffee and I'd be super grateful :)

buy a coffee for

Home » Windows » How To Create and Store a System Image in Windows 7

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.