Backup Complete Computer

How to Create a Complete Computer Backup and Restore Image in Vista
This will show you how to create a Complete Computer Backup and Restore Image. This is only for the Vista Enterprise, Ultimate, and Business versions.
How to Create a Complete Computer Backup and Restore Image in Vista

information   Information
Windows Complete PC Backup creates a backup image, which contains copies of your programs, system settings, and files. The backup image is then stored in a separate location from the original programs, settings, and files. You can use this backup image to restore the contents of your computer if your hard disk or entire computer ever stops working. For more information, see: Windows Help and How-to: Back up your programs, system settings, and files
Note   Note

A) If you want to delete or copy the entire WindowsImageBackup folder to save it to another location to keep a copy of it, you will need to open each subfolder in the WindowsImageBackup folder and grant access permission to them first by clicking Continue twice for eace folder. You will then be able to copy this folder like any other folder. You may want to do this because when a new Complete PC Backup is made it can overwrite the previous Complete PC Backup with the differences to create the new backup.
  • Backups are saved in a folder with this format: (backup drive letter)\WindowsImageBackup\(your computer name)\Backup (year-month-day) (time)
  • If the backup was done on Local Disk D: at 9/7/2007 1:00:50 PM (It uses 24 hour time), then the full backup file path would be:
  • D:\WindowsImageBackup\Computer\Backup 2007-09-07 130050
  • You would right click the folder Backup 2007-09-07 130050 and click Delete to delete that backup.
B) To delete all but the most recent Complete PC Backup, you can use Disk Cleanup. You will just need to select the drive that the complete PC backups are stored on and select the More Options tab.

C) To delete the Complete PC Backup completely, you just need to take ownership of the WindowsImageBackup folder and subfolders. Afterwards, you will be able to delete the folder.
warning   Warning

  • Windows Complete PC Backup is only available in the Vista Enterprise, Ultimate, and Business editions.
  • Vista cannot backup the partition or drive that you are saving the complete backup to.
  • If you dual boot with Windows XP, then everytime you start in XP the System Restore Points and all except the most recent Complete PC Backup files in Vista get deleted. For how, see: How to Stop System Restore Points from being Deleted in Vista when Dual Booting with XP
  • You cannot restore a 32 bit Vista version complete pc backup on a 64 bit Vista version, or the other way around.

Here's How:
1. Open Control Panel. (Classic View)​
2. Click on the Backup and Restore Center icon.​
3. Click on the Back up Computer button. (See screenshot below)​
4. Click on Continue in the UAC prompt.​

5. You will see this for a moment as Vista searches for backup devices. (See screenshot below)​

6. Dot the location to save the backup image to. (See screenshot below)​
WARNING: Vista cannot backup the partition or drive that you are saving the complete backup to.​
A) On a Hard Disk: For saving to a different hard drive or partition.​
NOTE: You cannot save the backup image on the same partition as Vista is installed on. It can only be saved on another partition, a separate hard drive, USB device (external hard drive), or on multiple DVDs. If you wish to create a new partition for backups, then see: How to Shrink and Create a Partition with Disk Management in Vista
B) On One or More DVDs: For saving to multiple DVDs that are bigger than 1 GB in size each.​
C) Click on Next.​

7. Click Start backup to confirm the backup settings and start the backup process. (See screenshots below)​
NOTE: This will tell you how much space will be used on the other hard drive, or how many DVDs it will take.
WARNING: If you have a previous complete PC backup in this location, this complete backup will only backup the differences between now and when the previous backup was made. (See the right screenshot below)​
Confirm_Backup.jpg Previous_Backup.jpg

8. You will now see this window. (See screenshot below)​

9. If you selected On One or More DVDs (step 6), then this window will pop-up asking for the first DVD. (See screenshot below)​
A) Insert a blank DVD into the DVD drive and click on OK.​
NOTE: It will continue to ask for DVDs until it is finished. See step 7 to see how many DVDs will be required.

10. When the backup is completed it will let you know. Click on Close.​
11. Close the Control Panel window.​
That's it,

Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink


Hi Shawn,

Windows Complete PC Backup will back up everything like those system files, updated definitions, installed software & icons setting(i've done alot of customization)... etc?
Another question for you Shawn.. :p

I've created a Windows Complete PC Backup on my D Drive.

But how do I erase the backup? Just delete the folder?

Thank you uvbogden (Bruce),

Acronis True Image completely slipped my mind. It is a great program for backups. Maxtrimi, you can download a 15 day fully functional trial of the program from the link. The bootable installation backup DVD made during this trial will always work.

I have on a primary partition WinXp installed, and on an Extended partition VistaX64 installed.
Because of on the WinXp partition are the boot stuff, when I try to make a full bkup of Vista partition, it wants to backup WinXp partition also, probably because of those boot file.
It's any other way to make a full backup of Vista partiton without make a backup of Winxp partiton also. I quick solution that I found quickly was to use norton ghost from a boot disk, but I want to use Vista backup.

Thank you
Hi Thanatos,

Not unless you have Vista on the primary boot partition and XP on the extended partition. I would stick with using Norton Ghost until you want to do a reinstall to get the OS orders switched around.

Sorry, :(
Hi brink
I am also willing to create Recovery Disk and I have to try with Acer eRecovery Management tool but the instructions provided by the manufacturer is somewhat filmsy I would be very much thankful if you could give me some help.
My Acer laptop has a hidden partition of 7.8GB and it says EISA configuration and C: partition is my system partition(previously C: and D:(DATA) I deleted the D: partition and created the C: single partition), Thank you in advance.

I am sorry I forgot to mention that my OS is Vista Home Premium.
Thank You brink for your quick response and your Tutorials are very nicely written and I read them very often.
Thanks again for your good work.
Shawn, I couldn't afford Utlimate at this time, but need to do a full backup and image of my Premier. Can you suggest some software for the job?
tks, Ron