Not many know, but you can make a system image of your computer and restore it whenever you want at that state. Usually, people tend to make a system image after they install a fresh Windows copy on their computers. However, they do that after installing all the drivers and applications that they need.
So, here is how you can make a system image on your computer.
– Two USB Flash Drives (one will be used for booting CloneZilla and another one to save the image file)
– Around an hour (depending on how big is the hard drive that you are about to create an image with)
We suggest you to do this after installing a fresh Windows copy on your computer. After you’ve installed all the programs that you use and you’ve made all the settings, you can start making a system image of your computer.
First of all, you will need to download CloneZilla and TuxBoot. CloneZilla is the application that you will use to create an image of the hard drive and TuxBoot is the application that you will use to mount the image file into your USB Flash Drive (in order to make it bootable).
After you’ve downloaded both of these applications, plug in the USB Flash Drive that you want to use and format it. To do this, go to go to My Computer and right click on the drive letter that is assigned to your USB Flash Drive, click on Format, select NTFS Quick and click “Start”.
HINT: Make sure that’s the right USB Flash Drive so that you don’t format the wrong drive.
After that, open TuxBoot and choose from the bottom ISO and click on the button to find the location of the CloneZilla live .ISO file. Once this is completed, make sure that the drive you are about to mount to CloneZilla is the USB Flash Drive and hit “Ok”.
Now, you will need to reboot the computer and boot from your USB Flash Drive. Depending on the computer you have, the boot selection menu should be F8 or F10. Check on the internet if you don’t know what key you have for the booting menu. Once you will boot from your USB Flash Drive, the CloneZilla will start.
Choose the default CloneZilla start option and select the Language Keyboard and, after that, “Do Not Touch KeyMap. Finally, select “Start CloneZilla Live”. Now, the CloneZilla will ask you to select where you want to save the image of your computer. There are different options such as: NFS server, Samba Sever, Local Disk, WebDav Server and SSH. You will need to select Local Disk and after that you will need to insert the second USB Flash Drive.
HINT: Keep in mind that you can also use an external HDD if you have one.
Now, a new window will ask you if you want to save the image of your computer to your hard drive. After selecting the correct drive, CloneZilla will ask you if you want to save the image to a directory. In case you’ve created a directory you can select the directory, but we suggest you to save it on the root directory of the USB Flash Drive or Hard Disk Drive.
After choosing the correct place where you want to save the system image, you can start taking a “snapshot” of your hard drive and save it to the USB Flash Drive or the external Hard Disk Drive.
When the next prompt appears, we suggest you to select the “Beginner Mode”. If you are not used to these types of programs, it is always better to choose the easier way. After selecting the “Beginner Mode”, you will need to select “Save Disk” and a name of the image such as: “my computer backup – date” or “backup PC – date”. The idea is to name the image in a way that you will know that it is a system image that you’ve made on your computer on a specific date. After naming the image the way you want, press “Enter”.
Now, select the hard drive where you have the Windows installed. CloneZilla will show each detected hard drive by name and size. Keep in mind that you will most likely see three drives listed (in case you have multiple partitions) and the names will be shown as: hdg1, hdg2 and sdg. You will have to choose sdg, this is represents the entire disk and all the partitions that it has, such as: boot, C:, D: etc).
The next two prompts are optional and you will have to decide if you want to automatically check the disk before the image process begins and if you want to allow encryption to the image. After passing these two last prompts, the system will start creating the image of your hard disk. Depending on how big your hard disk is, this can take more or less time.
You’re done! You’ve now created and saved your system image on your USB Flash Drive or external disk drive. Now you can use it and restore your computer whenever you want.