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Protecting Your Computer

A System Image Backup is a complete backup image of your hard disk (C:) that is stored in another location. You can create a System Image Backup using Windows Backup or the Control Panel. The backup image is written to another device: a secondary internal hard disk, or an external USB mass storage device (NTFS), or an SD card (NTFS), or a network storage device, or a Blu-Ray drive (as compressed BD-R or BD-RE discs).

Creating a System Image is a standard feature in Windows 7. It is deprecated in Windows 8 and Windows 10. See How to Create A System Image in Windows 7, 8, or 10.

U-Recover: Access a system image as if it was a volume snapshot

If you restore your computer using the System Restore User Interface (RSTRUI.EXE), you will find that it does not restore your documents, pictures, or other personal data. This is a significant limitation that reduces the usefulness of a system image.

U-Recover removes this limitation by letting you mount a system image as a disk letter. With U-Recover you can treat a system image exactly like a regular volume snapshot. You can expose the system image as a disk letter and view it just like any other disk, allowing you to copy your personal documents or files from it.

System Image compared to other backup methods

On Windows 10, Microsoft has deprecated System Image Backup in favor of File History and Reset your PC. File History saves your personal documents only. Reset your PC will restore your PC back to its original install state while preserving your personal files and documents. Resetting your entire PC will remove all installed desktop applications, their settings, and other customizations you might have made to your computer.

A system image lets you restore your computer back to a particular point in time instead of resetting the whole PC.

A System Restore Point is similar to a System Image in that it captures an image of the entire C: disk just like a System Image does. The difference is that a restore point is stored on the C: disk itself, so if the C: disk is lost then the restore point is lost also. Windows can drop the restore point snapshot at any time if needed (for example to free up disk space on C:).

In contrast, a System Image is stored on another device. This means that you can recover your operating system ('bare metal recovery') and recover your files if your main C: disk fails. The current System Image is never deleted by the operating system to free up disk space. (Older images will be deleted to free up disk space as needed.)

How to Restore a System Image Backup

See How to Restore System Image Backups on Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Important Note: System Image Restore is part of Microsoft® Windows®. Always consult with a technical support professional before you attempt to do System Image Restore. U-Recover is a utility for recovering individual files from a System Image. U-Recover does not restore your computer. As such, we cannot provide you with technical assistance in restoring your computer. If you need help with repairing or restoring your computer, please contact your technical support professional.
For more information

For more information about creating and using a system image please select one of the following topics: