OTT Guide to Backup, System Image, and Restore in Windows 10

Almost all new versions of Windows have many components taken from previous versions of the OS. Most of the time, it’s a better version of the old software. Sometimes, like in Windows 8, multiple versions of the same feature are included and it can make things worse.

Finally, some features from older versions of Windows are good enough to stay original in the newer version. An example of this is the backup options. In this article, I will talk about the built-in backup features in Windows 10 and how it is a blend of the new Windows 10 features and the old Windows 7 backup options.

In a way, it’s a good thing that you still have all the options you had before, but it’s also more confusing, like installing IE 11 and Edge at the same time.

Windows 7 Backup Options in Windows 10

In Windows 10, you can still do everything you can in Windows 7 about backup and restore. If you go to Control Panel you will see an option called Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

The pop-up dialog is quite similar to the one you see in Windows 7. You can Create a system image, Create a system repair disc, Set backup or restore a backup if available.

If you click Create a system image, you will have a choice about where you want to save the image. Only on Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise can you save system images to a network location.

Note that you cannot save the system image to any of the drives included in the system image. Creating a system image this way is a manual process. If you want it to be done automatically, you need to select Set backup right to buy.

This is similar to Backup and Restore in Windows 7. Basically, you choose where you want to save the backup and then choose a schedule. The only thing you have to be aware of is that you cannot create a system image if you backup to a DVD. You must back up to a hard drive or network location to have that option, otherwise it will be grayed out.

By default, the system image is saved in the following format, where X is the drive of your choice.

X:\WindowsImageBackup\PC_Name\Backup YYYY-MM-DD HHMMSS

For example, if I choose to save the system image to an external hard drive (E:), the location of the backup will be:

E:\WindowsImageBackup\AseemPC\Backup 2018-10-04 083421

Backup Restore option in Windows 10

There are two ways to restore data from your backups in Windows 10. If you have created a system image, then you must boot System recovery options in Windows 10 to restore images. If you backed up using the schedule feature and selected files and folders, you can restore files/folders from within the Backup and Restore dialog box (Windows 7).

Click Restore my files and then you can go ahead and selectively choose the files you want to restore from the backup.

To restore the system image, that’s a different process. Note that a system image restore is a full restore, which means you can’t pick and choose what you want to restore; everything will be wiped clean and replaced with images. Restoring from a regular Windows backup allows you to restore individual files and folders.

To restore the system image, you need to boot into System Recovery Options in Windows 10. Once there, you need to click on it. Troubleshoot.


Then click Advance setting.

Advance setting

Then go ahead and click Restore system image.

restore system image

Next, you will have to choose an account and enter the password for that user account. You will then have the option to restore from the latest system image or select a specific image, which you will do if you have saved the system image to an external USB hard drive, network location, or DVDs for example.

iamge system backup

Once you have selected the image, you will have several options on how to restore the image to your computer. Note that you can only restore to disks that are the same or larger than the disks included in the backup image.

Reset This PC in Windows 10

In addition to the above options, you can also use a new feature in Windows 10 called Reset this PC. This is basically the same as doing a repair install in Windows XP or Windows 7. All system files are replaced and you will essentially lose all your programs and settings, but Your data remains intact.

This is exactly what Reset This PC does, but it’s a lot easier and really only takes a few clicks. It also gives you the option to completely erase everything and start from scratch. This is the click to do a completely clean install of Windows 10.

File History

In addition to all the Windows 7 backup and restore options, the Reset this PC option, you also have another new feature in Windows 10 called File History.

File history is disabled by default. Also note that if you are using scheduled Windows 7 file backup, File History cannot be enabled! You will see this message:

You must disable the calendar to use File History. This is quite annoying because it means you will have to create a system image manually if you want a system image to back it up with. After disabling scheduled Windows 7 backups, you will see that you can now enable File History.

enable file history

It is recommended to use an external or secondary hard drive to store file history instead of a local hard drive or partition. You can also use a network location if you want. In fact, you can’t even choose a location on the same physical disk for File History. This is an advantage of File History over Shadow Copies, which is a similar technology in older versions of Windows. If the drive dies, you can reinstall Windows 10, name it the same as the dead system name, and then choose the same location for File History as the dead machine.

Once you have selected a location, the Enable button will be enabled so that you can click on it. That’s about it, FIle History is now enabled! So what does that mean and what does it do?

It basically saves versions of files stored in your gallery, favorites, contacts, and several other places like Music, Videos, Photos, and Desktop. If you go back to File History after it has made some copies, you can click Recover personal files right to buy.

recover personal files

You can now browse through a specific file or folder and navigate back and forth in time using the green keys at the bottom of the screen. This is an example of a text document that I created and edited with some text.

windows 8 file history.png

If I click the left arrow key, I see the 2/3 version, which has slightly less text than the 3/3 version.

recover files windows 8

Tapping the green circular arrow button will let you restore that version of the file:

file recovery

You can replace files, skip or see some comparison information across files. Unfortunately it won’t actually compare the contents of the files, just the date and other info like size etc File history sounds pretty good, but in my opinion and to many people otherwise, it has some serious problems. clear.

1. If you rename a file, its history is lost. It’s basically starting from scratch. So renaming a file is like deleting it and starting over. The old history lives on, just with the old name.

2. Continuing from point one, if you create another file with the name of the original file, the histories will be concatenated! So if you delete a file that already has a history and then you create a new file with the same name, you will also get the history of the previously deleted file.

3. Copies are made of the entire file each time a backup is made. So if you had a 500MB file that was changed three times in a small way, you would have three 500MB copies of that file.

4. You cannot back up anything other than files and folders. You’ll still have to rely on Backup and Restore (Windows 7) to actually back up your Windows 10 system.

5. You cannot include additional folders other than those predefined by Microsoft. This means that if you want to use File History, you will have to move the data to one of the specified folders.

All in all, all the complicated backup options system in Windows 10 will most likely confuse new users. Hopefully this article sheds some light on the different options, their advantages and disadvantages, and how you can use them in combination to create a powerful backup plan for your Windows 10 PC.

Finally, you can skip all the built-in options if they aren’t good enough and just use a third-party tool to clone and image your system. If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment. Interesting!

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