How to use windows 7’s Backup and Restore to create your own customized set of recovery DVD media.
If you have just installed Windows 7 or purchased a new PC but do not have an external hard drive to store image backups, using Windows 7’s Backup and Restore ‘System Image’ feature is a great method for creating you very own custom set of recovery media.
If you later need to restore Windows you can use the recovery media you created in lieu of the manufacture’s recovery disc or partition. If you have just upgraded from Vista or XP using your custom recovery discs can also save you from having to reinstall Windows XP or Vista just so you can upgrade to Windows 7 once again and forget about activation problems. Preparation: 1) Be prepared, have a stack of quality DVD media and paper sleeves handy.
2) You will mark each paper sleeve with the Date and the Disk number. The sleeve for the first DVD you insert should be marked as Disk #1 and the word “First”, the following sleeves (after each DVD is burned) should be marked with the Date and Disk # until the backup has completed and the last DVD is burned, which should have it’s sleeve marked with the Date, Disk # and the word “Last”. If you plan to do this on a regular basis you want to insure each sleeve includes the date so that subsequent backups are not intermixed.
How to create a System Image backup using DVD media:
1) Start/Control Panel/System and Security/Backup and Restore.
2) In the upper left of the ‘Backup and restore your files’ window, click on ‘Create a system image’. 3) Where do want to save the Backup: Click ‘On one or more DVD’s and then click ‘Next’.
4) Confirm your backup settings: The default drives to be backed up should be set to include the ‘System Reserved’ (System) partition and (C:) (System) the Windows 7 partition.
5) Click ‘Start backup’, the ‘Windows is saving the backup..’ progress bar should appear and in a few seconds you will be prompted to ‘Label and insert a blank media bigger than 1GB’.
The ‘Please write the following label on a blank media and insert into D:’ message where D: is your DVD drive, will show the computer name, date and time. This DVD is the “First” DVD you will insert and should be labeled as Disk #1 and the word “First”.
6) Insert the DVD media, wait a few seconds and then click the ‘OK’ button.
7) Are you sure you want to format this media?: Place a checkmark in the ‘Don’t ask again for this backup’ box and then click ‘Format’. Formatting is a relatively quick process and in about 15 seconds or less the progress bar will begin to show activity.
Note: Near the completion of each DVD in the backup set the progress windows will display ‘Verifying backup media…”.
8) After the first DVD has completed you will see the following prompt: “Label and insert a blank media bigger than 1GB”.
Remove the first DVD (Disc #1), label the second DVD (#2), insert it and click the ‘OK’ button. You should now see the progress bar displayed as the backup procedure continues toward completion.
9) Repeat step #8, label and number each disk accordingly.
10) When the “Do you want to create a system repair disc?” message is displayed: You have completed the last DVD in the backup set. Click ‘Yes’. There may be a brief delay before the DVD is ejected as the backup session needs to be closed. Now remove the last of the image backup DVDs you just finished burning, number it and mark it as “Last”.
Next insert a new DVD and click ‘Create disc’.
11) Using the System repair disc:
When prompted label it as indicated on the ‘Using the System repair disc’ message. The ‘System Repair’ disc can be used for more that just restoring image backup so keep this disk handy. Remove the system repair DVD and store it in a safe place.
12) Exit Backup and Restore:
Click the ‘Close’ button, then click ‘OK’ and finally ‘Close’. You should now be back to the main Backup and restore your files window. Close this window to exit the control panel and return to your desktop.
If you ever have the need to restore Windows 7, you can use your custom system image backup set in lieu of the manufacture’s recovery disc or partition. I was able to create a backup of a clean install of Windows 7 to a single DVD.
If you create the System Image immediately after installing and then activating Windows, using the recovery disc to restore Windows 7 to your replacement hard drive is one less step you need to perform should your original hard drive fail taking the recovery partition with it.
For those of you who have just upgraded from Vista or XP using your custom recovery discs can also save you from having to reinstall Windows XP or Vista just so you can upgrade to Windows 7 once again and forget about activation problems.