Windows

Revive unbootable Windows 7 PC with System Image Recovery

Hard drive failures don't have to be a crisis. Bill Detwiler shows you how to revive an unbootable Windows 7 PC using the System Image Recovery tool.

Windows System Restore is a handy way to undo common actions that go wrong, like a bad driver installation or failed system update. But there are problems that even System Restore can't fix, such as a massive corruption of core system files or a failed hard drive.

Luckily, Windows 7 has a built-in tool designed for these situations. In this week's show, I show you how to revive an unbootable Windows 7 system with the System Image Recovery tool.

For those who prefer text to video, click the View Transcript link below the video player window or check out Greg Shultz's article, "Use Windows 7 System Image Recovery to restore a hard disk," on which this episode is based.

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About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

10 comments
marvin
marvin

Thanks Bill for making us aware of WIN 7 image creation. Microsoft has hit a home run with this feature. It is quick and most of all it works. Be sure to create start up CD as part of image creation. In the past creating an image was dificult and involved "ghosting" or "Clonezilla" and usually more than one process to complete. This makes restoral easy and bulletproof. I will say that you may need a few Multi Tbyte drives to keep images, but it sure is worth it if you have a major malware attack or hard drive failure. Also be sure to check regularly using MALWAREBYTES. It is free and finds attacks that both Norton Security or Microsoft Security Essentials fail to identify.

danny.roberts
danny.roberts

It's worth mentioning that Windows 7 Recovery can have issues with multiple disks/controllers and RAID setups. I had occasion to recover my system drive when an OCZ SSD failed. Windows disk management assigns 'Disk 0' to my striped RAID spinning disks (data) and the recovery would not continue without be able to format this volume.

ian
ian

Deleted

davidcmccall
davidcmccall

At home I do both - after building a PC or buying a new one I will fully configure it with applications, preferences, favorites, Windows updates, et. al. At that point I snap an image with Acronis or Windows backup and put it away as a "Fresh Image." Going forward I just backup my data. This leaves me with a clean, light, fresh Windows image should I have problems, viruses, etc. in the future. And since my data is backed up regularly all I need to do is restore my fresh image, run updates, restore my data, and I'm good to go with a clean load and all my data. And I keep my fresh images and backups on an external hard drive I keep in my firesafe.

AssemblerRookie
AssemblerRookie

An image can get you up and running again quickly. But, if the system had any problems (virus's, configuration issues etc)prior the image being taken there still there. A fresh install of OS I think is the best way to go. It can also take considerable disk space to store an image. You arguably could backup a lot of data in the space of just one image of say a 1TB drive. The best solution (if possible) is to have one corporate image that all desktops use and then you only have to BkUp the data.

albayaaabc
albayaaabc

We must use special hardware in Computer to backup recovery image using special (programmable electrical erasable read on memory recovery electrical EPROM-RE to establish easy way of system image recovery. I think helpful. with my freind B.D

ElijahKam
ElijahKam

Whether you use Windows 7 system recovery or another image program(as may be necessary on previous Windows versions), be sure to partition the hard drive so that you can isolate the system files. E.g. Drive C for the system and program files, and a Drive D for data. In this way you will not lose any data just because you need to restore the system. Of course the data on the data drive should be backed up by appropriate software, but that software does not have to be image software.

runnelsm
runnelsm

The download link seems to be inop. I get 404 errors when trying to download the MK4 files. Great article. Thanks, Mike R

grichardt
grichardt

I may be mistaken, but under Windows 7 Image Restore, I don't think think that you can just save and restore a partition. When I have used it in the past, it seems that the whole drive was restored from my image. Other image programs such as Easus may allow you to image and restore a partition.

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