Navigation


Content

Tip: keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F searches in the page contents.

Restore a System Image in Windows 7 and 8

How to restore your Windows 7 or 8 from a system image using System Repair Disc or Windows DVD

By . Last modified: 2014-03-19.

In case you have a really-really bad day and your Windows 7 or 8 will not start no matter what, the bootable System Repair Disc or Recovery Drive will come in handy for restoring a system image.
If things are even worse and you cannot find your System Repair Disc/Recovery Drive for Windows, use Windows 7 or 8 DVD instead. If you can't find your Windows DVD, you can borrow one from your friends - any version of Windows DVD has Repair Your Computer option. Just make sure you use Windows 7 DVD for restoring Windows 7 and Windows 8 DVD for restoring Windows 8.

First, connect your external hard drive where your Windows backups are, insert the System Repair disc or Windows DVD. If your computer does not start from the CD or DVD, read the Computer boot order article to make necessary changes.
Those who use network drives (NAS, for example) for backups, must use wired connections for restoring system image. Wireless networking is not supported.

After your computer starts from the CD or DVD, a black screen with text Press any key to boot from CD or DVD appears. Press Enter or Space key on your keyboard within 5 seconds, otherwise your broken Windows will start again.
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image. Insert your Windows 7 System Repair disc and restart your computer. Press Enter or Space key while the message "Press any key to boot from CD or DVD" is displayed.

Windows will then load files from the disc. This will take some time.
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image. After booting from Windows 7 System Repair disc, Windows will load some files. This takes time.

For Windows 7 System Repair disc users, System Recovery Options window opens. Select your preferred keyboard layout from Select a keyboard input method box. Then click Next.
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image - System Recovery Options. Select your preferred keyboard layout from Select a keyboard input method box. Then click Next.

In case you booted from Windows 8 Recovery Drive or System Repair Disc, Choose your keyboard layout screen appears. Click your keyboard layout, or if one is not visible, click the See more keyboard layouts link until you see the correct layout.
Windows 8, Recovery Drive or System Repair Disc, Choose your keyboard layout. Click your keyboard layout or use the "See more keyboard layouts" link to find one.

For Windows DVD users, Install Windows dialog appears. Select your preferred settings from Time and currency format and Keyboard or input method boxes. I suggest you leave Language to "English" here to better understand this article. Click Next to continue.
Windows 7 boot from DVD. Select your preferences from Time and currency format and Keyboard or input method boxes. Then click Next.

Now you will see a big tempting Install now button. Do not click it! Laughing Click Repair your computer in the lower left corner instead.
Windows 7 boot from DVD. Click Repair your computer to launch a System Image restore.

With Windows 7, installation(s) will then be located on all hard drives. This might take a minute or so.
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image - System Recovery Options. After selecting a keyboard layout, Windows 7 installations will be searched on all hard disks. This might take a minute or two.

As you need to restore a System Image, click Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier. Then click Next. Make sure your external hard drive with backups is connected first!
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image - System Recovery Options. After finding all Windows 7 installations, click Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier.

In Windows 8, Choose an option screen appears instead. Click Troubleshoot.
Windows 8, Boot from DVD, Choose an option. Click Troubleshoot.

Click Advanced options in Troubleshoot screen.
Windows 8, Advanced startup, Troubleshoot. Click Advanced options.

In Advanced options screen, click System Image Recovery.
Windows 8, Advanced startup, Troubleshoot, Advanced options. Click System Image Recovery.

Now click Windows 8 in the System Image Recovery screen.
Windows 8, Advanced startup, Troubleshoot, Advanced options, System Image Recovery. Click Windows 8.

Re-image your computer window opens. If you want to restore the latest available system image (the date and time of the image are displayed in Date and time: field below), leave the default selection in tact and click Next.
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image - Re-image your computer. To use the latest available system image for restoring, click Next.

If you want to select an older system image instead, click Select a system image and then click Next. In the following window click the external hard drive you use for backups and click Next. If the drive is not displayed, disconnect and reconnect it and then click Refresh button.
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image - Re-image your computer, Select the location of the backup for the computer you want to restore. Click your external hard drive in the list and then click Next.

Now select the older system image you want to restore from the list. Please note that the  backup time might be different, because all times are displayed for GMT-8:00 time zone. Click Next.
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image - Re-image your computer, Select the the date and time of system image to restore. Select the system image you want to restore by clicking on it. Then click Next.

Normally, you do not need to select the Format and repartition disks option from Choose additional restore options section. Just click Next.
You might need this one only if you had a total hard drive failure and you are restoring Windows 7 to a new hard disk or you had to format the present one. The term "new hard disk" also includes a used hard disk bought from auctions or friends. Just make sure the new disk's capacity in gigabytes is at least as big as the previous one!
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image - Re-image your computer, Choose additional restore options. Normally, just click Next. Select Format and repartition disks only if your old hard drive failed, you bought a new one and you are restoring your Windows 7 on it.

A summary screen will be displayed. Click Finish to start the re-imaging process.
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image - Re-image your computer, summary screen. Click Finish to start re-imaging.

And here is the final warning that you will lose any data currently present on the hard drive selected for re-imaging. Click Yes.
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image - Re-image your computer, All data on the drives to be restored will be replaced with the data in the system image. Click Yes.

Restoring a system image takes a long time - an hour to several hours, depending on the size of data on your hard disk(s). You can safely do something healthy meanwhile... Wink
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image - Re-image your computer in progress. Windows is restoring your computer from the system image. This might take from a few minutes to a few hours. Stand by.

After the system image has been restored, Windows offers to restart your computer. It will not wait for your answer forever, just 30 seconds. If you happen to be somewhere near your mouse, click Restart now. Hold your breath... not really!
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image - Re-image your computer complete. Windows will offer to restart your computer for 30 seconds. If you have not clicked anything during that time, your computer will restart automatically. But you can also click Restart now button earlier.

Your Windows 7 or 8 should now start and work correctly. If needed, you can now restore individual files and folders from a later backup than your selected system image.

After a system image restore, Action Center icon in Windows 7 Taskbar Notification area will show a message "Solve PC issues: 1 message".
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image. After restoring a system image, Action Center icon in Taskbar Notification area will display "Solve PC issues: 1 message".

Click Action Center icon and then click Check backup settings.
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image. To remove Action Center message after restoring from system image, click its icon in Taskbar Notification area. Then click Check backup settings.

Windows 7 reminds you that your backup settings might be out of date because your computer was restored to an earlier point in time. Click Keep current settings to disable the Action Center message. But please double-check that an automatic daily backup has been set up after this!
Windows 7, Restoring from System Image. After restoring from a system image, Windows 7 reminds you to double-check your backup settings. Click Keep current settings to disable the Action Center notification. Still, please double-check your backup settings after this!

In Windows 8, you can double-check your settings by opening Settings search with keyboard shortcut Windows Key+W, typing "windows 7" and clicking Windows 7 File Recovery.
Windows 8, Start screen, Settings search. Type windows 7 and click Windows 7 File Recovery to set up backups.

Please support winhelp.us:
No PayPal account required!

 Comments? Suggestions? Ideas? Let me know! 
Your name (public):
Your e-mail (will not be displayed):
Title:
Notify me of new comments to this item: (send e-mail to info[at]winhelp.us to stop receiving)
Your comments/suggestions/ideas (no HTML code!)
winhelp.us owners reserve the right to remove or not publish comments that they find unacceptable because of strong language, inappropriate contents, advertising or spamming.
winhelp.us Privacy Policy.
This is a captcha-picture. It is used to prevent mass-access by robots. (see: www.captcha.net)
Share: Facebook Google+ Twitter LinkedIn StumbleUpon Pinterest E-mail

Browser and plugin check Google Custom Search Donate to keep this site running