You can use a system image to restore the contents of your computer if your hard disk or entire computer ever stops working (as long as you have saved a recent system image backup on an external drive).
When you restore your PC from a system image, it’s a complete restoration. You can’t choose individual items to restore, and all of your programs, system settings, and files are replaced with those on the system image.
Before you start make sure that the removable media that your backup is stored on is available. Also, make sure that the disk that you’re restoring the backup to is the same size or larger than the disk that you backed up.
1. To restore your PC using the Recovery Control Panel (this is the favoured option)
If your computer is still working and you can access Control Panel, or if you want to restore your system image backup onto a different computer, follow these simple steps:
In Windows 7 or Vista’s ‘Search programs and files’ search box type ‘Recovery’ without the brackets and select Recovery from the list of Control panel items that appear.
On the Recovery page click ‘Advanced recovery methods’. And now click ‘Use a system image you created earlier to recover your computer’, and then follow the simple steps to bring your PC performance back to where it should be.
2. To restore your PC using a Windows installation disc or a System Repair Disc
If you can’t access Control Panel, you can still restore your computer using a Windows installation disc or a system repair disc (see how to prepare a system repair disc just below).
Preparing a system repair disc
Open Backup and Restore by clicking the Start button, and then click Control Panel to open it up. Under the System and Security sub heading , click on Backup your computer. On the Backup or Restore page in the left column click Create a system repair disc, and then follow the instructions. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type your password (normally the one you use to log-in) and/or provide the required confirmation.)
Insert the installation disc or System Repair Disc and restart your computer. If prompted, press any key to start the computer from the installation disc or system repair disc.
If your computer is not configured to start from a CD or DVD, check the information that came with your computer. You might need to change your computer’s BIOS settings. For information about which settings to change, check your computer manufacturer’s website.
Choose your language settings, and then click Next. Click ‘Repair your computer’. This step only applies if you are using a Windows installation disc. Select a recovery option, and then click Next. Your PC will now be repaired.
These advanced options can help resolve software-based problems by returning your computer to an earlier state, but because they can delete personal files and programs, it’s best to try them only if nothing else has fixed the problem with your particular PC.