How to create an image backup in Windows 10 and restore it, if need be

Robin Hayes plans to create an image backup of his C: drive using Windows 10’s own tools. But he’s not sure how he can restore that backup should disaster strike. I’ll cover both the backing up and the restoration.

An image backup copies everything on your drive—operating system, boot sector, programs, and data files—into one compressed but still very large file. If disaster renders your Windows installation useless, an image backup will allow you to get it up and running again quickly.

I recommend you create an image backup, saving it to an external hard drive, three or four times a year. This is in addition to the far more important daily file backup of your data.

This article focuses on Windows 10. I’ve already covered the subject for Windows 7 and 8.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to [email protected].]

Creating an image backup in Windows 10

1.   Plug in your external hard drive—which should have enough free space to hold everything on your internal drive. Make sure Windows can access the drive.

2.   In Windows’ Search field, type file history, and select Control Panel’s File History program.

3.   In the File History dialog box, click System Image Backup in the lower-left corner.

1 Comment
  1. Reply Faye 09.09.2016 at 16:58

    If i create an image backup then what file quality should i expect to get after the restoring them? Will they be of the same size/resolution or much smaller? You`re saying they will be compressed, that`s why im asking…

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