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How to Backup and Restore Your Windows in 10 Minutes

By , Vivek Nayyar - Source: Tom's Hardware Tutorials | B 24 comments
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A fastest way to get your Windows up and running again.

The most basic and frequent problem that you face when Windows gets corrupt is the long and tedious method that is required in its restoration. Reinstalling Windows along with your most commonly used software and basic hardware drivers can take hours. This duration can be cut short by using software like Acronis True Image. Acronis True Image is powerful software that creates backup data and then restoring it when required. The interface of Acronis is quite user-friendly and fairly self-explanatory.

Acronis True Image is the best substitute for the traditional Windows restoration process. It enables you to backup the complete logical drive, storing the Windows files along with the installed software. In case Windows gets corrupt, Acronis can restore your OS back to the state when you last made a backup. Before creating a backup, you must make sure that it is created in some other storage media or in some other drive. If not, there may be a risk of the backup file getting corrupted or destroyed.

Steps for creating backup are:

  1. Boot your system with Acronis bootable CD.
  2. At the startup, select the option Acronis True Image. Your system will reboot using Acronis True Image bootable media.
  3. On the opened window, from the available options under the Backup section, click My Disks to create backup of your system.
  4. On the Partitions to backup window, check the checkboxes representing the drives that are to be backed up.
  5. Click Next to continue.
  6. On the Target backup archive window, under the Target selection section, click to select Create new backup archive radio button to create a new backup.
  7. Under the Backup location section, click Browse button.
  8. On the opened window, browse for a location for the new backup and specify the name of the file.
  9. Back on the Target backup archive window, click Next to continue.
  10. On the next window, click Proceed.
  11. Wait till Acronis creates the backup of your system.

Note: Make sure you create the backup on a drive not used to store the original install of Windows.

Steps to restore your system:

  1. Boot your system with Acronis bootable CD.
  2. At the startup, select the option Acronis True Image. Your system will reboot using Acronis True Image.
  3. On the opened window, under the Recover section, click My Disks to recover your system drive.
  4. On the next window, click Browse and locate the backup file .TIB extension.
  5. Once located, back on the previous window, click Next.
  6. On Choose recovery method window, click to select Recover whole disk and partitions radio button.
  7. Click Next when done.
  8. On the Select the items to recover window, check the checkboxes representing the drives that are to be recovered.
  9. Click Next.
  10. On the next window, leave everything as default and click Next.
  11. On the Summary window, click Proceed to start the system drive recovery process.
  12. Once done, remove the Acronis bootable media from the drive and restart the computer normally.

The above content was adapted from our Tom's Hardware Tutorials Forum. Check out our ongoing contest to see how you can win by submitting a tutorial!

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  • -1 Hide
    sincreator , October 10, 2013 12:13 PM
    I use the Windows system image tool built into Win 7. I just save an image of my whole C drive on one of my larger hard drives since my C drive is only a 128gb SSD anyway. I install "most" of my games on a different drive as well, so it doesn't use up as much space on my SSD. My backup is around 50gb, so it's not a big deal.

    I recently had to restore back to my last image save, which was in June. Never lost a thing, and only had to reinstall one program. I got the Arconis software with my SSD and have yet to use it. lol, no point really...
  • 1 Hide
    kawininjazx , October 10, 2013 12:15 PM
    As a full time computer tech for the last 7 years I have to say Acronis is great. I use Disk Director for managing partitions and True Image is great for cloning. On my old desktop, instead of "backing up" my machine, I would just boot off the disc and clone my entire HDD to my second HDD, then I have a full drive ready to go, don't have to worry about a corrupted backup set or even restoring it.
  • 0 Hide
    Nikolay Savov , October 10, 2013 12:15 PM
    Acronis OS Disk image - > 15 GB .tib -> 10 - 15 min !
  • Display all 24 comments.
  • -1 Hide
    sincreator , October 10, 2013 12:17 PM
    I use the built in Windows system image tool built into Win 7. I just save an image of my whole C drive on one of my larger hard drives since my C drive is only a 128gb SSD anyway. I install "most" of my games on a different drive as well, so it doesn't use up as much space on my SSD. My backup is around 50gb, so it's not a big deal.

    I recently had to restore back to my last image save, which was in June. Never lost a thing, and only had to reinstall one program. I got the Arconis software with my SSD and have yet to use it. lol, no point really...

    EDIT: Why can't I delete this double post? lol, a tech site that can't get their comments section fixed...
  • 1 Hide
    DelFang , October 10, 2013 12:22 PM
    Avoid Acronis! They refuse to add Windows 8 compatibility to the True Image 2012 when the said backup software were merely 10 months old, and it weren't even 2013.
    EaseUS have better backup softwares, and they are mostly free.
    Or Paragon, which is also better than Acronis.
  • -1 Hide
    sincreator , October 10, 2013 12:25 PM
    I can see the good in cloning the drive in a business environment kawininjazx. To be able to just pop in and go again would save a lot on down time. I just think a simple windows system image is sufficient for most home users if they save the image to an additional drive just in case the registry was to get corrupted.
  • 0 Hide
    wemakeourfuture , October 10, 2013 12:31 PM
    Acronis works like a champ, have done many diskclones from one ssd to another without having to go through the hassle of reinstalling windows, drivers, software, etc.

    Best software I've ever paid for on Windows
  • 2 Hide
    Dogsnake , October 10, 2013 12:42 PM
    Good advertisement for Acronis. It is a good product but you need to buy it. Win 7 has and equally as good free set of back up utilities. Why submit a guid that is copied from some third party software providers instruction set? He did not create this he copied it.
  • -1 Hide
    flyflinger , October 10, 2013 12:54 PM
    The system that my kids use is notorious for infecting virus, malware, getting corrupted, etc. The only sure way is to use Windows restore point. Yeah, brute force, but it works. (shrug)
  • 0 Hide
    internetlad , October 10, 2013 12:55 PM
    How to put ads on your Tomshardware for cash profit.

    That said, I trust true image, and acronis tends to make solid software (between drive monitor, disk director and true image, we've got the triumverate of data going on.)
  • 0 Hide
    Eximo , October 10, 2013 1:12 PM
    Clonezilla is decent product for 'home' use and even professional use and is completely open source. The GUI interface isn't bad and has commandline for advanced usage. It has a network server capability much like GhostCast. Norton(Symantec) Ghost is still a great tool as well that I use often at work.
  • 0 Hide
    milktea , October 10, 2013 1:14 PM
    I don't believe Acronis True Image is free?!?
  • 0 Hide
    numitors , October 10, 2013 1:58 PM
    I personally hate Acronis products because I lost a lot of data once when i tried resizing my partitions, I use GParted ever since.
  • -1 Hide
    damianrobertjones , October 10, 2013 2:49 PM
    What is the point in using this when you can EASILY just use in in-built Windows backup?
  • 0 Hide
    Spock9999 , October 10, 2013 4:15 PM
    I also use the built-in windows image backup to external USB drive, HOWEVER, it does not have any compression or encryption features that 3rd party backup packages usually have.
  • 0 Hide
    antilycus , October 10, 2013 6:54 PM
    Acronis is pretty good, but it's also a nightmare to work once in a while. I would recommend R-Drive Image (www.r-tt.com). It's simple and painless with great speed and compression. DO NOT USE ANYTHING WINDOWS BASED. Those backups have a strong tendancy to become corrupt for no reason and they don't restore system state or some of the other useful information really well. Do it right, use imaging softare. If you want a free one DRIVEIMAGE XML is pretty good, but if you want longevity, reliability and no fuss restoring, it's hard to beat R-Drive Image from R-TT (r-tt.com) plus they have linux options.
  • 0 Hide
    Marcus Yam , October 10, 2013 10:05 PM
    Hey all. One very important thing to clarify: this tutorial was presented without any input from Acronis and its partners. There was ZERO advertising behind it from any entity. It didn't even contain a link to Acronis' site or any retailer selling the product.

    It was simply a submission from our Tutorials forum that was intended to be helpful content for all Tom's Hardware readers. That's all.
  • 0 Hide
    Pash G , October 11, 2013 12:14 AM
    Coincidently, after a bit of googling around, I started using Acronis TrueImage (latest version) yesterday to backup my Mom's system drive C (SSD). It's a 128Gb Vertex 4 which was just about 100Gb full. The image backup, destined to another SSD, took about 20min with "full compression" setting on her i7 laptop. End result was a ~40Gb .tib file which I later moved to a NAS. Nice, surprisingly intuitive to use piece of software. It was my first time ever to use imaging software too. I'm definitely recommending it. Also, I've set it up to do incremental backsups every night of her secondary (storage) drive D to the NAS.
  • 0 Hide
    mapesdhs , October 11, 2013 4:46 AM

    I tried Acronis once but couldn't get it to work. I used to use DriveImage XML, but
    it's too slow. I had much better success with Macrium Reflect, and that's what I'm
    still using now.

    Ian.

  • 0 Hide
    enewmen , October 11, 2013 6:14 AM
    What do people suggest if I want a use a Windows system image tool - like the one built Win 7.
    EXCEPT for Windows 8. I think that feature was taken out in 8.1. I think it's still possible in 8.1, but you need to use the CLI.
    Any alternatives?
    No Windows 8 compatibility to the True Image 2012 - Is there a newer version?
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