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Creating a system Image DVD for Windows 7

windows7_logoIf you have ever experienced a computer crash, or a failure that ultimately ends up in you having to reinstall Windows and all your drivers and software, then you know what a living hell feels like. Even if you’re a seasoned pro, like me, you know that at the very least, you are going to be booked up 4 or 5 hours reinstalling everything, and probably twice that getting all of your settings and configurations back the way you like them. Of course, that’s assuming that you have a recent backup of your data. If not, your living hell just became a vacation resort.

There are a number of programs that make an image of your computer and provide a method of restoring your computer from that image. Some work great, some not so well, some are expensive while others are free. I may expand this article at a later time to discuss some of these options, but for this article, I am going to explain how to create a system image disk in Windows 7.

Windows 7 is the first Windows operating system to come with a system image and recovery and recovery utility. It’s built into the Windows Backup and Restore utility.

It’s not a perfect utility, for example:

  • Windows 7 creates a system image of the entire drive(s) selected so be sure you will need to have adequate storage space.
  • If you choose to create an image on a hard drive, it must be an external hard drive.
  • There is no compression, so the image will be the same size as the selected drives.
  • There is no scheduling option, images must be created manually.
  • The System Repair disk must be written to a DVD.
  • Storing an image on a network location is not available on the Windows 7 Home editions

The good news is that it does work well, it’s easy to use, and it’s built-in to the system.

To access the Windows Backup and Restore utility, Click the Windows Start Orb, and type “backup” (without the quotes) in the Search box, and select Backup and Restore. This will bring up the Backup and Restore utility.

In the left-hand column of the Backup and Restore utility, you will see the options for creating a system image and creating a system repair disk.

First, we must create a system image, so we start by clicking on “Create a system image”.

Next, we must decide whether to create the system image on a hard drive (must be equal to or larger than the drives selected to be images), on one or more DVD’s (DVD’s typically hold around 4 GB. You’ll need enough DVD’s to equal the size to the drives selected to be images), or if the option and resources are available, we can store the image on a network location. Select the option of choice, and click “Next”.

The utility will take over from here and create the image to the specified location. You can stop the process if needed at any time if you need too, however, you will have to start the process from the beginning.

Once the image is created, you will be prompted to create a System Repair disc. You will need a blank DVD/R disk in a DVD burner to create the System Repair disc. When the System Repair disk is complete, label it appropriately, and store it in a safe place. Hopefully, you won’t need to use the System Restore disk, but if you do, you’ll be glad you created the system image and System Restore disk.

Note: You can system images as often as you like. You can even overwrite the system image you created in making the System Restore disk with the new system image.

Should you actually need to use the System Restore disk, you simply boot your computer to the DVD, and then follow the easy prompts. In short time, your computer should be back up and running.

An Alternative solution:

If your computer boots into Windows in Safe-Mode (Tapping the F8 key as Windows starts to boot will bring you to the selective boot menu where you can select Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking), you could try using the System Restore utility to return your computer to a previous system snapshot. This doesn’t always work, but if it does, you may be able to recover your system’s stability without having to restore your data backups. If you do use the System Restore utility, you will need to run Windows Updates and install any updates that were released after the system snapshot was created.

To access the System Restore utility, Click the Windows Start Orb, and type “restore” (without the quotes) in the Search box, and select System Restore. It’s a very easy utility to understand and use, so just follow the instructions on the screen, and you will do fine.


I hope you found this article to be helpful, but I want to make clear that this information is being provided for informational purposes only. Although I provide this information to be true and accurate to the best of my understanding and ability, you use this information at your own risk. I cannot be held liable for any damage or loss of data resulting directly or indirectly from the use of the information in this article. If you feel at any time uncomfortable with these procedures, I strongly recommend contacting a certified computer support professional to assist you.



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