Slideshow: How to restore a hard disk with Windows 7 System Image Recovery

The System Image Recovery procedure will immediately locate the most recent system image connected to your system

A system image includes the operating system and all your system settings, your programs, and all your files. However, keep in mind that when you restore your computer from a system image, it will actually perform a complete restoration of your entire system, which means that all your current programs, system settings, and files will be replaced with the versions that were current when you made the system image.

Getting started

To begin, make sure that you have your system image available - if you created an image on optical discs, have the last disc in the set inserted into the drive or if you created an image on an external hard drive, have the drive connected to your system. For my example, I created an image on an external hard drive.

Then, access the System Recovery Option menu. To recap, there are several ways that you can get there:

  • If your system will still attempt to start Windows, then you can attempt to access the System Recovery Options from your hard disk.
  • If Windows won't start at all, you can access the System Recovery Options by booting from the Windows 7 DVD.
  • If you have created a System Repair Disc, you can boot from that disk as well and access the System Recovery Options.

For more details, see the Getting to the System Recovery Options section of the "Access More Troubleshooting Tools with Windows 7 System Recovery Options," blog post.

The restore procedure

When you select the System Image Recovery option, the procedure will immediately locate the most recent system image connected to your system and display that information in the first screen of the Re-image your computer wizard, as shown. As you can see, my system image is on drive F, the drive letter assigned to my external hard drive, it was created on 7/19 at 4:51 AM, and it is the image for the computer named Greg-PC.


Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.


with w7 you can do that automatic, this seems VIsta? as an alternative backup & restore you can use Acronis...