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I am looking for some software to take a snapshot of my 64 bit Windows 7 machine and store it of on a USB hard drive.

I want to be able to restore it to this exact point in time later. I don't think Windows System Restore does what I'm trying to do.

  • 2
    For reference, this is called Imaging the disk. – Darth Android Feb 6 '14 at 2:29
  • @DarthAndroid I think back at the days they called it snapshots :D drivesnapshot.de/en/backup.htm – Mohammed Joraid Feb 6 '14 at 3:32
  • Boot up in CloneZilla and use that ( or just dd) to clone the disk – MadTux Feb 6 '14 at 8:31
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If you are using Windows 8 (and Windows 7 as well), they have included this feature as System Image which seems promising. But personally, I wouldn't rely on it that much. Because if Windows it self crashes, then it won't be able to restore it self back! Especially in the event of hard drive crash then everything will be lost. Therefore I recommend to accompany this Windows tool with a full disk image tool of your choice.

From Microsoft Site:

A system image is an exact copy of a drive. By default, a system image includes the drives required for Windows to run. It also includes Windows and your system settings, programs, and files. You can use a system image to restore the contents of your computer if your hard disk or computer ever stops working.

Check out this for Windows 7, this and this for Windows 8.

Now, as for a third party software, one good tool is:

  1. the AOMEI Backupper Recovery Tool, I've been using it to create system image for a while now (made a quick test to restore my C: drive and the drive was back and the extra added files were gone as expected) and I'm impressed with it's ease of use and good speed.

    • It's free
    • Can make bootable disks in case Windows is not starting,
    • Supports incremental and differential backups to save imaging space and time.
    • Disk cloning, system backup to image OS, files backup.
    • System image mounting to explore files.
    • Very appealing and easy to use interface.

    Here, read this review about AOMEI Backupper. It kinda reminded me of Norton Ghost which saved my OS a couple of times, however, now it has been discontinued since Norton decided to replace it with SSR

  • The system recovery on your Windows installation disc can read those system images as far as I know, so it should be safe enough. It still won't protect against a hard drive failure though. – 3ventic Feb 14 '14 at 19:19
  • @3ventic yup, it seems like that. I read somewhere that "It seems, the Win7 System Image backup can only restore to the SAME HDD that Win 7 was originally installed on" which will make the back up hard to get. – Mohammed Joraid Feb 14 '14 at 20:21
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Acronis True Image 2015 is a simple and reliable backup/recovery solution to create a full drive backup, image or clone the drive. Here you will find some step-by-step instructions and solutions to common issues.

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