You can never have enough backups and I’ve always encouraged Daves Computer Tips readers to use Acronis True Image to backup their computer, and I still do. An image is the ultimate backup with the ability to restore your computer to the exact state it was in when the image was created. True Image has many features that make data backup and restore both efficient and reliable. There is, however, a feature in Windows 7 that allows a user to create a system image of their computer. It is fairly basic, but for those on a limited budget or with an emergency need it will do the job just fine (with a few caveats). Even if you have Acronis True Image, and I hope you do, you should have a look at this Windows 7 feature in case you need it in a pinch!
Windows 7 system image Pros
It is included in the OS.
It is reasonably easy to use.
It offers a recovery CD option so it offers an excellent recovery option.
Windows 7 system image Cons
Windows 7 creates a system image so all internal drives are included. Users with multiple hard drives will require a lot of storage space.
If you choose to create the image on a hard drive it must be an external hard drive.
Windows does not offer any means to compress the images, so images will equal the total size of all internal drives.
There are no scheduling abilities so all images will need to be created manually.
There are no image management abilities so incremental and differential images are not possible, nor is there a method to automatically manage the images.
The On a network location option is NOT available on Home editions of Windows 7.
To benefit from an image you need a DVD burner to burn the System Repair disc.
Opening the System Image utility in Windows 7
1. Click the Start Orb and type backup in the search box. Start the search by clicking the Enter key.
2. You will see Backup and Restore in the results window. Click Backup and Restore to open the applet window.