Windows System Repair Disc
The first step in restoring a system image made by Windows 7 Backup and Restore is to have a system repair disc available. Immediately after the system image is created, Windows 7 will suggest that you make a system repair disc. All the files will fit onto a blank CD-R.
Follow these steps to create a Windows 7 system repair disc: click the Windows Start button, click Control Panel, then click System and Maintenance, and finally click on the Backup and Restore icon. Once the program has opened, click the link named Create a system repair disc, and have a blank CD or DVD ready to record the data. The 64-bit Windows 7 system repair disc will be at least 164MB. If you’re prompted to insert a Windows installation disc, it means that the files needed to create the system repair disc can’t be found on your computer. Insert any Windows 7 installation disc to complete this step, preferably from a disc of the same version.
An advisable practice is to have at least one Windows 7 system repair disc stored with the drive containing a system image. It’s also a good practice for computer technicians to have a Windows 7 system repair disc for troubleshooting and virus/malware removal. You must use the correct system repair disc: 32-bit disc for 32-bit Windows 7, or a 64-bit disc for 64-bit Windows 7. If you use a Tablet PC or other computer with a touch screen, you may need to temporarily connect a keyboard and mouse in order to use Windows 7 Startup Repair and the other tools in the System Recovery Options menu.
With the Windows 7 system repair disc inserted, start the computer and boot from the CD/DVD drive. Some systems may require that you press a special key, such as ESC (Escape) or a function key (F9 and F12 are popular) to boot from anything other than the computer’s hard drive. You’ll know that the system repair disk has started when the message “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD” appears. The very first thing the Windows 7 system repair disc will do is load system files to create the graphical user interface (GUI). Once the system repair disc loads the System Recovery Options menu, it immediately scans the system for any Windows 7 installation. The System Recovery Options menu will allow two initial options: 1) use recovery tools, or 2) restore from a system image. Choosing to use recovery tools will open a new menu with these features available:
|Startup Repair||Fixes certain problems, such as missing or damaged system files, that might prevent Windows from starting correctly.|
|System Restore||Restores your computer’s system files to an earlier point in time without affecting your files, such as e-mail, documents, or photos.If you use System Restore from the System Recovery Options menu, you cannot undo the restore operation. However, you can run System Restore again and choose a different restore point, if one exists.|
|System Image Recovery||You need to have created a system image beforehand to use this option. A system image is a personalized backup of the partition that contains Windows, and includes programs and user data, like documents, pictures, and music.|
|Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool||Scans your computer’s memory for errors. For more information, see Diagnosing memory problems on your computer|
|Command Prompt||Advanced users can use Command Prompt to perform recovery-related operations and also run other command line tools for diagnosing and troubleshooting problems.|
Startup Repair can only fix certain problems, such as missing or damaged system files. It can’t fix hardware failures, such as a failing drive or memory errors. Startup Repair isn’t designed to fix Windows installation problems, nor is it a backup tool, so it can’t help you recover personal files, such as photos or documents.
System Restore uses restore points to return your system files and settings to an earlier point in time without affecting personal files. Restore points are created automatically every week, and just before significant system events, such as the installation of a program or device driver. You can also create a restore point manually.
If Windows detects possible problems with your computer’s memory, it will prompt you to run the Memory Diagnostics Tool. If you choose to restart your computer and run the tool immediately, make sure that you save your work and close all of your running programs. The Memory Diagnostics Tool will run automatically when you restart Windows. It might take several minutes for the tool to finish checking your computer’s memory. Once the test is completed, Windows will restart automatically. If the tool detects errors, you should contact your computer manufacturer for information about fixing them, since memory errors usually indicate a problem with the memory chips in your computer or other hardware problem.
For the purpose of this article, Benchmark Reviews will concentrate on the System Image Recovery function. When you restore your computer from a system image, it’s a complete restoration. You can’t choose individual items to restore, and all of your programs, system settings, and files are replaced with those on the system image. In our next section, we detail the steps necessary to successfully restore a system image.