Imaging: create a Windows system image

Now you have installed Windows on your C: partition (and placed your personal data on the D: partition), it is time to create an image of your Windows system. A system image creates an exact backup of all the bits on your C: partition. This means you can always restore your system to the exact original situation! Where the Windows System Restore (Start, All Programs, Accessories, System tools, System Recovery) keeps giving troubles, a system image will always work! Creating a system image is the best advise I can give to prevent getting into troubles. Here are some reasons:

How a system image works

A system image creates an exact copy of your Windows partition (C:). By restoring the image, your whole C: partition will be overwritten. This will result in total data loss of everything on your C: partition! This means you have to move all personal files to a data partition (this website assumes D:, see below). The image of your C: partition is stored in one or more files, which can be stored on another partition, external hard disk or burned on CD-ROM or DVD.

Move all your personal data to another partitions

If you carefully read the instructions on my website, you already know how to move the personal data for every user account to your data partition D: (My Documents, Downloads, Favorites folders, Windows Address book and Outlook Express e-mail database (or Outlook database)). Probably these are all on a default Windows system, but there is a chance more software stores personal data outside the My Documents folder on your C: partition.

Free system image software

Of course you can pay a lot of money for commercial system imaging software like Norton Ghost/DriveImage or True Image, but there are also multiple free imaging tools. On this website I have described the use of the free tool Partition Saving (download:

I have created a manual how to create an image boot disk with this tool, extended with a user friendly menu for imaging and restoring your Windows partition. With this bootable imaging disk you are able to image and restore your C: partition in 5-30 minutes times with only a few clicks. With this MS-DOS boot disk your are able to safe your settings which cost you blood, sweat and tears!

Want to know more?

Below you see how the simple imaging and recovery menu looks like. Read the next pages how to:

Microsoft Windows Millennium Startup Menu
1. Help about this imaging boot disk.

2. Create system image number 1 (whole partition).
3. Create system image number 2 (occupied sectors only).
4. Create system image number 3 (occupied sectors only).
5. Restore system image number 1.
6. Restore system image number 2.
7. Restore system image number 3.
8. Backup MBR, first sector and partition table.
9. MS-DOS.
Enter a choice: 1  Remaining time: 29
F5=Safe mode  SHIFT+F5=Command prompt
SHIFT+F8=Step-by-step confirmation of every step [N]


There is another freeware tool DrvImagerXP (download: This tool only works in a multiboot environment: from the system partition number 1 you can image and recover system partition 2 (Partition Saving is used on a bootable MS-DOS disk).

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