Windows 7 has been a stable and aesthetically pleasing OS for many. The aesthetic features have been talked up so much, that the great utilities included don’t get enough attention. Today, I want to highlight the Windows 7 System Image and Backup features and how easy they are to utilize.
All Windows 7 versions from Home Premium and up have these features. However, saving your system image or backing up to a network device is available only with Professional and Ultimate.
Windows 7 makes it easy to make an image of your hard drive. This means everything – from the OS to all your drivers, data and how everything is set up. Say you get a nasty Facebook virus or click on something by mistake or visit a malicious web page and get infected. Instead of spending hours trying to get rid of it, just restore the image you have backed up to DVDs or an external drive.
To get started, go to your start button>Control Panel>System and Security>Back up your computer. You’ll then see the screen below and you can get your backup started and running in just a few seconds. Of course, you’ll want to put your image on an external drive or network location in case your machine is compromised. In the event you need to restore, just go back to System and Security and follow the prompts to restore your system.
Remember that this is a snapshot in time, so it’s something you may want to schedule monthly or quarterly.
When I finished running my system image, it prompted me to make a repair/boot type disk. It’s good to do this in case your computer becomes unbootable for whatever reason.
Backing up files, pictures and music is something we all know we need to do, but how many of us only get the ‘backup religion’ after losing data? Don’t let it be you! I use Carbonite, but I like to have another form of backup as well.
Windows 7 makes it easy to click through several screens and tell it which folders you want to have backed up and to what location. You’ll need to remember to have an external drive attached, or if you’re using a network location, that it is available at the time the backup is scheduled to run (backing up to a network available with Ultimate and Professional versions of Windows 7).
You get to the backup area the same way you get to System Image – then select ‘Backup’ and go through a few screens to get it set up. Alternatively, you can let Windows manage what is backed up.The image below would probably capture all data, pictures and music for typical users as those items are stored in our ‘Libraries’. Simply expand to see what has been selected and select and un-select as needed.
The last step is to select the time and frequency of your backups and you’re finished.