If you are enrolled in the Windows Insider Program, you are likely running the latest build of Windows 10 and chances are you are also tinkering with the operating system (such as tweaking the registry to enable dark mode in build 10074). It’s always best to do a full system backup before messing around with your operating system, and it’s also wise to do a backup every so often to ensure your files are not lost in the event of a system crash (let’s face it, the chances of a system crash are high when using a pre-release operating system).
While there are an army of third-party free and paid solutions out there, we’re going to show you the most easiest way to create a backup of your system using a build-in feature in Windows — System Image Backup. This procedure will create a system image, which contains a copy of Windows 10, copies of your programs, system settings, and files. The system image is stored in a separate location and you can use this image to restore the contents of your computer if your hard drive or system fails. Let’s get started.
Open up the Start Menu or Cortana and begin typing “File History.” Open File History and you will see a window that showcases File History, a feature that saves copies of your files so you can get them back if they’re lost or damaged. At the bottom-left of the window is a link called “System Image Backup.” Click that link.
From here, you can easily save a copy of the drive you want to backup. You can save it on a hard disk, a DVD, or on a network location. In my case, I saved a backup of my system drive to another hard drive. To create a system image of a drive, keep in mind that it must be formatted to use the NTFS file system. If you save the system image on a hard drive or USB flash drive, it must also be formatted to use the NTFS file system. This can be a lengthy process depending on how much data is being backed up.
To restore your computer from a saved backup, boot into your Windows installation media and select Repair your computer. Navigate to Troubleshoot, then Advanced Options, then select System Image Recovery. This is where you can select the saved backup and proceed to restore your system with ease! You can even restore within Windows too — Launch the Settings app, go to Update & Security, Recovery, then under Advanced Startup simply hit Restart now. You will then select Advanced Options and then System Image Recovery.
System Image Backup is not a new feature in Windows 10 — it has been available in previous versions of Windows. However, if you are on Windows 10 and need to quickly and easily backup your system, you now know how! Let us know in the comments below if you prefer System Image Backup or if you use a third-party tool for backups.