1- Right-click the Start button and launch Control Panel.
2- Click File History.
3- While in File History, click the System Image Backup link in the bottom-left corner of the screen.
4- Connect an external USB hard drive with enough free space.
5- In the backup wizard, you’ll be prompted to choose from one of the three options to save the backup. For this example, we are going select the hard drive you just connected. However, keep in mind that you can backup to DVD blanks and a network share, but these options will slow down the backup process.
6- Click Next.
7- Confirm and begin the process by clicking Start backup.
The backup could take anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours, it all depends on the amount of data to be backed up.
And yes, during the backup process, you can use your computer as you would normally do.
After the System Image Backup utility completes the task, remember to keep the hard drive in a safe place.
Although, a lot of tech savvy users are aware of how to perform a full backup in Windows, you’ll be surprised how many people fail to know the basics. Often times I get asked questions such as: “I upgraded my system and now Windows won’t boot, how can I rollback?”. Or “My hard drive is ruined, is there any way to recover my data?”, and most of the times a simple backup could have saved them a lot of troubles.
How often do you do a full backup of your computer? What software do you use? Let us know your backup experience in the comments below!
Update: To restore your computer from backup, connect the drive with the system image backup and reboot your computer with the Windows installation media. During the Windows Setup, click Next, then click the Repair your computer link in the bottom-left corner of the screen. Click on Troubleshoot, click Advanced options, and select System Image Recovery. Now select the target operating system you want to recover, click Next and Finish.