Posted on November 12, 2015 · Posted in Windows 10

How to Create Full System Image Backup in Windows 10

This article will tell you how to create full system image backup of Window 10 on a separate external drive and restore it. A system image is a full copy of all data stored in a PC (includes absolutely everything from Windows system files to applications installed by a user and their settings, user personal data and documents.) In addition to the system disk data, the image can include the contents of all disks connected to the system. After that, we will try to recover the system using the image we have made.

How to Create a Windows 10 Image Backup

To make a system image backup, use the command line utility tool wbadmin. The system image will be saved to a separate external drive (a partition of the current disk can also be used to save it but it is far more unsafe), which has to have enough free space to store a full system copy.

windows 10 external disk

Type PowerShell in the search box, then select Windows PowerShell from the displayed list and run it with the administrator privileges.

start powershell as admin

In this example, we want to create a full system copy (saved to C:\) including all necessary partitions required for the system to operate (including partitions with the boot manager and boot configuration) and save this image to the external E:\ drive. In this case, a command to create the image will be as follows:

wbAdmin start backup -backupTarget:E: -include:C: -allCritical -quiet

wbAdmin start backup

Note. To make a system image using Wbadmin.exe, you have to be a member of Backup Operators or Administrators groups.

If it is necessary to include other partitions or disks besides the system one to the image, a command will look like that:

wbAdmin start backup -backupTarget:E: -include:C:,D:,F:,H: -allCritical -quiet
In case, you have to save the system image to a network share:

wbAdmin start backup -backupTarget:\\Remote_PC\\Folder -include:C: -allCritical –quiet

Command execution will take some time depending on the size of the data added to the image being made.

wbAdmin log

When wbAdmin utility completes its task, WindowsImageBackup directory containing the system image will appear in the root of the target disk.

folder WindowsImageBackup

Tip. The procedure of making a system image backup can be run from Windows 10 graphical interface. It can be done by means of Control Panel (Control Panel -> File History, System Image Backup button in the bottom left corner.)System Image Backup from GUI in Windows 10

Restoring Windows 10 from a System Image Backup

To restore the system from the available image, you will need:

  • A Windows 10 / Windows 8 install image on a DVD disk or a USB flash drive, or a system repair disk
  • To change boot order in the BIOS settings so that the system boots from DVD / USB flash drive

Boot from an installation/boot disk. Click Next on the first window.

boot from windows 10 install disk

Click Repair your computer button in the bottom left corner.

Repair your computer

After that, go to Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options -> System Image Recovery.

System Image Recovery

Select Windows 10 from the list of target OSs.

Window10 recovery from image

Installation wizard will scan the connected drives and find the list of previously made backups.

select system image backup

Tip. Since the system has booted from a boot disk, disk letters can differ from disk letters in the system.

Select the image to be restored from the list of available images.

select image backup on disk

Check Format and repartition disks. In this case, the installation wizard will delete all current partitions on the disk and recreate a table of partitions in accordance with partitions in the image.

Format and repartition disks

Now, you only have to confirm restoring the system from the image.

Windows10 restore from image backup

When the installation wizard completes its task, boot from the hard drive (do not forget to change the priority of boot devices) and make sure that the system state corresponds to its state at the moment of the image creation.

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