You can use a system image to restore the contents of your computer if your hard disk or entire computer ever stops working. For more information about system images, see What is a system image?
When you restore your computer from a system image, it's a complete restoration. You can't choose individual items to restore, and all of your programs, system settings, and files are replaced with those on the system image.
Before starting, make sure that the removable media that your backup is stored on is available, if applicable. Also, make sure that the disk that you're restoring the backup to is the same size or larger than the disk that you backed up.
To view a video of this process, click here: Creating the system image
To back up your programs, system settings, and files
Open Backup and Restore by clicking the Start button , clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking Backup and Restore.
In the left pane, click Create a system image, and then follow the steps in the wizard. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
Keeping different versions of system images
If you're saving your system images on an internal or external drive, or on CDs or DVDs, you can keep several versions of system images. On internal and external hard drives, older system images will be deleted when the drive runs out of space. To help conserve disk space, you can manually delete older system images. For more information, see What backup settings should I use to maximize my disk space?
If you're saving your system images in a network location, you can only keep the most current system image for each computer. System images are saved in the format of drive\WindowsImageBackup\computer name\. If you have an existing system image for a computer and are creating a new one for the same computer, the new system image will overwrite the existing one. If you want to keep the existing system image, you can copy it to a different location before creating the new system image by following these steps:
Navigate to the location of the system image.
Copy the WindowsImageBackup folder to a new location.