Windows 7 Backup – Does the “system image” include all the files on the drive

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I have a new Dell Laptop that I have setup the way I like it. I want to use Windows 7 to do a backup and then restore that backup on a different hard drive (solid state).

When I setup the backup info (manually) for Windows 7 Backup there is a little checkbox at the the bottom that says:

Include a system image of drives: RECOVERY, OS (C:)

I can also select to backup all my data on the C: drive (the only hard drive I have anything on) as well as some libraries (which are on my C: drive so no point in selecting those).

The question I have is, does Windows 7 Backup just somehow know what needs to be restored (ie program files and Windows and the registry ….? Or is it really making a full restorable copy of the C: drive? (If the later is true then I don't need select the C: drive to be "backed up" if I don't plan to access the files except by restoring them right? (Because the system image will already have it all.))

So, which way is it? What is saved in the System Image?

Best Answer

The system image will create a full copy of every file on your boot partition, which can be restored from the recovery console on the installation disk. This will restore everything, including the operating system, registry, all installed programs, and user profiles. The separate option to back up specific folders and files is necessary if you want to be able to restore individual files. The "previous versions" feature and the ability to restore just specific files requires that you back up those directories. If you only intend to ever use the restore features to do a full image restore, you don't need to select anything on C:, however, I have found it useful in the past to be able to recovery just a single file or directory of files, such as in the event of an accidental deletion, etc.