As part of your recovery plan, a full backup should be at the top of your list since it is the best strategy against hardware failure, and apps and upgrade problems, as well as malware attacks that can corrupt your files and damage your Windows 10 installation. If you are not proactively creating full backups, you will be putting at risk documents, priceless pictures, and configurations you have spent long hours setting up.
If you use Windows 10, you have many different methods to create a backup. For example, you can use third-party solutions to backup the entire system or copy files to an external drive manually or upload them to a cloud storage service like OneDrive. However, if you do not want to use manual methods or third-party tools, you can always create a full backup using the legacy built-in System Image Backup tool.
A system image is another way to say “full backup,” as it contains a copy of everything on the computer, including the installation, settings, apps, and files. Usually, you will find this tool better suited to restore the entire system from critical hardware or software problems, such as hard drive failure or when trying to roll back to a previous version of Windows 10.
In this Windows 10 guide, we will walk you through the steps to create a full backup with all your custom settings, apps, files, and installation using the system image tool.
Quick note: The System Image Backup tool for Windows 10 is no longer a maintained feature, but you can still use it for the foreseeable future. The instructions outlined in this guide are meant to create a temporary full backup while the feature is still available. You can also read this guide with alternative ways to back up your computer.Shop USB Drives
The system image tool allows you to create a full backup to an external drive or network shared folder. However, it is best to use removable storage, which you can then disconnect and store in a different physical location.
To create a full backup of Windows 10 with the system image tool, use these steps:
Once you complete the steps, the tool will create an image of the entire system that includes everything on the primary hard drive and other drives you may have selected.
While the backup is in progress, you can continue working on the device since it uses the “Shadow Copy” feature to backup files even if files are open and apps are running.
After the process is complete, you can disconnect and store the external drive in a safe place. If you have valuable data, you may want to consider keeping the backup in a different physical location.Shop Hard Drives
If you need to replace the hard drive or hardware failure occurs, you can use one of the backups to recover the device and files.
To restore a backup on Windows 10, use these steps:
After you complete the steps, the recovery process will start on the computer. The time to finish the restoration will depend on the amount of data and hardware configuration.
If you are about to restore a device, do not interrupt the process as it can cause the backup to fail, making the device unbootable. It is always recommended to have the laptop connected to a power source and a desktop computer to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to avoid problems.
Once the backup has been restored, open Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, and click the Check for Updates button to quickly install any missing security updates.
Although there many other solutions to create a full backup of the entire system and files, there are still many reasons to choose the System Image Backup tool. For instance, when you do not have another solution, and you are about to upgrade to a new version of Windows 10. You can use the built-in tool to create a temporary full backup in case you need to rollback.
Or when you are about to replace the main hard drive, or you need a quick way to transfer the installation and files without the need for reinstallation. It is also always recommended to periodically backup your computer if the unexpected happens, and you need to recover from system or hardware failure, malware, ransomware, or hacker attacks.
One thing to keep in mind with this tool is that it is meant to recover the entire system, not files and settings individually. If you want to keep updated copies of your files, you should be using other solutions, such as OneDrive or File History. Also, you need to be proactive about creating backups because you can only recover a system since the last backup. Anything after the full backup, such as apps, settings, and files, won’t be available during recovery.