How to use System Image Recovery in the Windows 7 and Windows 8 Recovery Environment
By Lawrence Abrams on October 24, 2012 | Last Updated: December 13, 2012 | Read 30,991 times.
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In the event that you are unable to start Windows or wish to restore your hard drives to a previous backup you can use the System Image Recovery program from the Windows 7 or Windows 8 Recovery Environment. This process will overwrite the entire contents of your hard drives with the contents of a previously created system image. It is important to note that all of your data will be removed and replaced with the contents of the system image. Therefore, please backup any new data that has been since you created the system image that you plan to restore.
If you have not created a system image and would like to learn how to create one, you can visit this guide:
How to create a System Image backup in Windows 7 and Windows 8
To access System Image Recovery you need to boot Windows into the Recovery Environment. For instructions on how to do this, please see these tutorials:
How to start the Windows 7 Recovery Environment
How to access the Advanced Startup Options menu in Windows 8
Once you are in the Windows Recovery Environment at the list of the available recovery tools, click on the System Image Recovery option. If you are using Windows 8, you will be prompted to select a User that you wish to login as. Once you enter the username and password you will be shown the Re-Image Your Computer screen.
Re-Image Your Computer screen
If you wish to use the latest system image that was saved on the attached hard drive, click on the Next button and skip to this next section. For most people, this is the recommended setting.
Otherwise, select the Select a system image option and press the Next button. You will now be at a screen where you can select advanced settings that allow you to load a driver that may be necessary to view a hard drive’s files or to search for a system image on a network share. When you have finished finding the image you wish to use click on the Next button. If you used Windows 7 File Recovery backup to create the system image, then you may be prompted to select the particular backup you wish to use from that day. Select the backup image and then click on the Next button.
You will now be at a screen where you can select additional options.
Additional options screen
If the Format and repartition disks is available, then you can select that to have your disk reformatted and repartition during the restore process. The Exclude disks button allows you to exclude particular disks from being restored. The Advanced button will open up some advanced settings such as whether or not you want to automatically restart after the restore is finished.
For the majority of restores, you can leave the settings that System Image Recovery sets in this screen. If you are satisfied with the settings and would like to proceed, click on the Next button and you will be at a confirmation screen.
If you would like to start the restore process, click on the Finish button. You will once again be shown a prompt stating that all your data will be removed if you continue. If you still want to continue, click on the Yes button.
System Image Recovery will now to start to restore the system image you selected.
Restoring the system image
Warning: Restarting your computer during this process can cause Windows to not to start and your data could be missing. If your computer is restarted while this process is being performed, you will need to use the Windows media or a Windows Repair CD to start the system image restore process again.
When the restore process is finished, System Image Recovery will automatically reboot your computer back to Windows. You will now be using the data and Windows settings from the system image that you restored.