OTT Guide to Backup, System Image and Restore in Windows 10 / Windows 10

All new versions of Windows have many components taken from previous versions of the OS. Most of the time, it’s a better version of the old software. Sometimes, like in Windows 8, multiple versions of the same feature are included and it can make things worse.

Finally, some features from older versions of Windows are good enough to stay the same as in the newer version. An example of this is the backup options. In this article, I will talk about the built-in backup features in Windows 10 and how it combines the new Windows 10 features and the old Windows 7 backup options.

In other words, it’s a good thing that you still have all the options you had before, but that’s also more confusing, like installing IE 11 and Edge at the same time.

Windows 7 Backup Options in Windows 10

In Windows 10, you can still do everything you can in Windows 7 in terms of backup and restore. If you go to Control Panel you will see an option called Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

The pop-up dialog is quite similar to the one you see in Windows 7. You can Create a system image, Create a system repair disc, Set backup or restore a backup if available.

If you click Create system image, you will have a choice of where you want to save the image. Only on Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise can you save system images to a network location.

Note that you cannot save the system image to any of the drives included in the system image. Creating a system image this way is a manual process. If you want it to be done automatically, you need to select Set backup Option.

This is the same as Backup and Restore in Windows 7. Basically, you choose where you want to save the backup and then choose a schedule. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that you cannot create a system image if you backup to DVD. You have to back up to a hard disk or a network location to have that option or it’s greyed out.

By default, the system image is saved in the following format, where X is the drive of your choice.

X:  WindowsImageBackup  PC_Name  Sao lưu HHMMSS YYYY-MM-DD

For example, if I choose to save the system image to an external hard drive (E:), the location of the backup will be:

E:  WindowsImageBackup  AseemPC  Sao lưu 2018-10-04 083421

Backup Restore Option in Windows 10

There are two ways to restore data from your backup in Windows 10. If you have created a system image, then you must boot to it. System recovery options in Windows 10 to restore the image. If you backed up using the schedule feature and selected files and folders, you can restore files/folders from within the Backup and Restore dialog box (Windows 7).

Click Restore my files and then you can go ahead and selectively what files you want to restore from the backup.

To restore the system image, that’s a different process. Note that a system image restore is a full restore, meaning you can’t pick and choose what you want to restore; everything will be wiped out and replaced with images. Restoring from a normal Windows backup allows you to restore individual files and folders.

To restore the system image, you need to boot into System Recovery Options in Windows 10. Once there, you need to click on it. Troubleshoot.

Then click Advance setting.

Then go ahead and click System Image Recovery.

Next, you will have to choose an account and enter the password for that user account. You will then have the option to restore from the latest system image or select a specific image, if you have the system image saved to an external USB hard drive, network location or DVD, for example.

Once you have selected the image, you will have several options on how to restore the image to your computer. Note that you can only restore to a disk the same size or larger than the disks included in the backup image.

Reset This PC in Windows 10

In addition to the options above, you can also use a new feature in Windows 10 called Reset This PC. This is basically the same as performing a repair install in Windows XP or Windows 7. All system files are replaced and you will essentially lose all your programs and settings, but your data. Yours is still intact.

This is exactly what Reset This PC does, but it’s much easier and really only takes a few clicks. It also gives you the option to completely erase everything and start from scratch. This is the click that does a complete clean install of Windows 10.

File History

In addition to all the Windows 7 backup and restore options, the Reset this PC option, you also have another new feature in Windows 10 called File History.

File history is disabled by default. Also note that if you are using Windows 7 file backup with scheduler, File History cannot be enabled! You will see this message:

You must disable scheduling to use File History. This is quite annoying because it means you will have to create the system image yourself if you want a system image to backup. When you turn off scheduled Windows 7 backups, you’ll find you can enable File History.

We recommend using an external or secondary hard drive to store file history instead of a local hard drive or partition. You can also use a network location if you want. In fact, you can’t even choose a location on the same physical disk for File History. This is an advantage File History has over Shadow Copies, a similar technology in older versions of Windows. If the drive dies, you can reinstall Windows 10, name it the same as the dead system, and then choose the same location for File History as the dead machine.

Once you have selected a location, the Enable button will be enabled so that you can click on it. That’s about it, FIle History has begun! So what does that mean and what does it do?

Well, it basically saves versions of files stored in your library, favorites, contacts, and a few other places like Music, Videos, Pictures, and Desktop. If you go back to File History after you’ve made some copies, you can click Personal file recovery Option.

You can now browse through a specific file or folder and navigate back and forth in a timely manner using the green keys at the bottom of the screen. Here is an example of a text document I created and edited with some text.

If I click the left arrow key, I see the 2 of 3 version, which has slightly less text than the 3 of 3 version.

Pressing the green round arrow button will allow you to restore that version of the file:

You can replace the file, ignore it, or see some comparison information on the files. Unfortunately, it won’t actually compare the contents of the files, just the date and other info like size etc. File history sounds pretty good, but it also has some issues in my opinion. seriously and to many others, obviously.

1. If you rename a file, its history is lost. It basically starts all over again. So renaming a file is almost like deleting a file and starting over. The old history lives on, just with the old name.

2. Following up from point one, if you create another file with the name of the original file, the history will be concatenated! So if you delete a file with a history and then you create a new file with the same name, you will also get the history of the previously deleted file.

3. A copy is created from the entire file each time a backup is performed. So if you have a 500MB file that’s been altered three times in a small way, you’ll have three 500MB copies of that file.

4. You cannot back up anything but files and folders. You will still have to rely on Backup and Restore (Windows 7) to actually back up your Windows 10 system.

5. You cannot include additional folders other than those predefined by Microsoft. This means that if you want to use File History, you will have to move the data to one of the specified folders.

All in all, all the complicated system of backup options in Windows 10 will most likely confuse new users. Hopefully, this article sheds some light on the different options, their advantages and disadvantages, and how you can use them in combination to create a powerful backup plan for your Windows 10 PC.

Finally, you can skip all the built-in options if they aren’t good enough and simply use a third-party tool to clone and take a picture of your system. If you have any questions, please post a comment. Enjoy!

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