Backup Complete Computer

ByLine
How to Create a Complete Computer Backup and Restore Image in Vista
Synopsis
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
BACKUP LOCATION:


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.​
Backup_Computer.jpg

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

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.​
Choose_Location.jpg


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)​
Preparing.jpg

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.
Insert_Disk.jpg


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


 
Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink

Comments

Hi all. I saw in earlier (2007) posts that these instructions do not work for Home Premium. Has that changed since those early posts? I've tried twice to use the backup to disk option on my PC. The first time was just before I started getting BSODs; I just spent 3 weeks getting my PC working again. Now that's it working, I wanted to do a full backup. It looked like it was working, then I received an error, invalid instruction. Not sure what that means, but I've wasted 2 CDs trying. Any thoughts? Thanks!
 
Hello Shebajd,

Windows Complete PC Backup is only available in the Vista Enterprise, Ultimate, and Business editions. :(

Macrium Reflect is a good free alternative though.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
Thanks. That's too bad, although I'll look into the other option.

On my desktop, I also tried backing up to the D: drive, but it ran out of space. It worked on my laptop. I think the space on D: is to low, whereas their equal on my laptop. Does the forum have instructions for changing how the space is allocated between the two partitions?
 
Shebajd1,

If you do not mind backing up what is on the D: partition that you want to readjust the size of, then you can use Disk Management to delete it, extend C: back into D: , and shrink C: by how much you want the new D: to be.

http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/95418-disk-management-delete-extend.html

and

http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/95398-disk-management-shrink-partition.html


If you use a 3rd party disk management program like Paragon Partition Manager, then it will allow you to change the partition size without having to anything else with the partition.
 
I have backed up C:\ and have 7 zipped files on D:\. when I try to restore it reads no backup files on this computer.
I have unzipped the files to C:\ but can't find them.:confused:
 
Hello Pondapatale, and welcome to Vista Forums.

You would need to point to the original backup location (see note box at top of tutorial) in it's original form instead. :(
 
Okay, I just purchased Windows 7 and I'm about to do a full backup of my HD (because it suggests to) on an external HD. Is this all I need to do, the tutorial that is? Also, I have yet to purchase and external HD. Does anyone suggest one? I have a 250 GB HD, so I dont care to have an external bigger or much bigger than that. I am looking at this Newegg.com - Western Digital My Passport Essential 320GB USB 2.0 Black External Hard Drive WDME3200TN - External Hard Drives - What does everyone think?

Also, I have Paragon's Drive Back-up. Should I use that over Windows back-up?
 
Okay, I just purchased Windows 7 and I'm about to do a full backup of my HD (because it suggests to) on an external HD. Is this all I need to do, the tutorial that is? Also, I have yet to purchase and external HD. Does anyone suggest one? I have a 250 GB HD, so I dont care to have an external bigger or much bigger than that. I am looking at this Newegg.com - Western Digital My Passport Essential 320GB USB 2.0 Black External Hard Drive WDME3200TN - External Hard Drives - What does everyone think?

Also, I have Paragon's Drive Back-up. Should I use that over Windows back-up?
Windows 7 is a little bit different than Vista, so use the Windows 7 tutorial at Seven Forums instead. It will backup both Vista and Windows 7.

Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup - Windows 7 Forums

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
I'm backing up the material on Vista before I install Windows 7 though. Or am I going about this all wrong?
You would only want to do a system image backup if you wanted to have a backup to restore Vista with. Otherwise, you may want to manually copy the files to back them up. This way you an restore them in Windows 7 if you wanted to.
 
Just copy them from Internal HD and paste them in the External? Sorry, I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to this.
Sorry.

For individual files that you want to backup, you would right click on the file and click on Copy, then click on the location where you want to save them to as a backup and click on Paste. Using the tutorial below can make it easier to Copy and Move them though.

http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/89196-context-menu-add-copy-folder-move-folder.html
 
Hi, just a question. if an upgrade to 7 went swimmingly, would i still be able to remove the complete backup, or not. if not is there any other alternative?

Thanks.
 
Hello Uryuuishida, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Yes, you will still be able to delete the backup folder using the same option in the NOTE box at the top of the tutorial afterwards. :)
 
Thanks for that,

are there any other steps i should take aswell as the full backup and a manual copy of 'documents', just in case?
 
Thanks for that,

are there any other steps i should take aswell as the full backup and a manual copy of 'documents', just in case?
I used to build and maintain computers and networks for small businesses here in town, and after one catastrophic loss of data, [which took weeks to recover and cost thousands of $$ , I became anal obsessive about backups.

Every computer automatically makes a full backup to a second drive at 2 am Saturday, and those backups are copied to ESATA drives every 2 am Sunday.

I do the same at home. One working, two backups, done automatically by schedule so I don't forget. BTW: these are full live copies, using volume shadow service, so any of the three drives are bootable and can be operate from a boot manager with a mouse click. Your own method really depends on your "cost of failure".

You can't be too thin, too rich, or have to many backups. [IMHO, of course]
 
Thanks for that,

are there any other steps i should take aswell as the full backup and a manual copy of 'documents', just in case?
I agree with Robert. Backup redundancy is the key to help make sure you do not lose your data. To be extra safe, always keep a backup somewhere safe at another location. This way in case of fire, flood, or whatever, you will still have that backup.
 
I have tried the "Back up computer" twice now to two different external hard drives.

Failed both times.

Lost about 60GB storage to each external drive as a consequence.

This method doesn't have much shelf life.

1. How do I get back my lost capacity?
2. How do I succeed in doing "Back up computer?"

I have the business edition.
 
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