System image or back up and restore to fix Windows 7 problems

Just like the tittle, I need to reinstall windows 7 due to an all game breaking problem deep within my system. So I want to restore everything from my external hard drive, and I want to keep all my programs and game saves, but which of the two do I use. Also will a system image save a copy of win7 because I don't want that when I restore. I'm typing this from my phone so I apologize for any misunderstanding.

Edit:I am also at school so I won't be able to reply immediately.
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More about system image back restore fix windows problems
  1. anytime you reinstall Windows you will need to reinstall all your programs.

    a system image will create a copy of what ever is on the hard drive.
    a backup will allow you to select the folders you want to backup and it safes it in a compressed format.

    it sounds like, all you need to do is copy the files and folder you need to your external drive, reinstall Windows and needed softwares, and then copy the files and folders back to the main drive.
  2. Hey Steeve, I think you are looking for a strong and robust system restore solution which keeps your system configuration as it is, right? so rather than going for imaging solution try Faronics Deep Freeze. May be you heard about it. I'm also user of it from last 2-3 years. It keeps my system configuration safe and if any thing wrong happen with my system, simple restart will solve the problem.
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