Any backup tool to do a system state backup of Windows 10/11?


Frank15

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Windows 11 Home
Any app (best if free) to do a "system state" backup of Windows 10/11 so that I can restore only the OS while preserving all installed apps and user data? I mean: to achieve something similar to what you can do with an In-place upgrade. The issue with an In-place upgrade is that Windows has to be able to boot in order to do it.

I'm looking for something like Windows Server Backup does with the "system state" backup.
I tried with AOMEI Backupper Standard free, but it doesn't offer this option (it backs up the full system drive).

Any help much appreciated
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Gigabyte B550M DS3H
What's wrong with a full disk image? You can restore in minutes even if Windows won't boot. Perhaps could describe in more detail exactly what you wish to achieve. Another option would be to move apps and data to a separate disk or partition. This would make the OS partition a lot smaller.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    11 Pro 23H2 OS build 22631.3672
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Swift SF114-34
    CPU
    Pentium Silver N6000 1.10GHz
    Memory
    4GB
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    SSD
    Cooling
    fanless
    Internet Speed
    13Mbps
    Browser
    Brave, Edge or Firefox
    Antivirus
    Webroot Secure Anywhere
    Other Info
    System 3

    ASUS T100TA Transformer
    Processor Intel Atom Z3740 @ 1.33GHz
    Installed RAM 2.00 GB (1.89 GB usable)
    System type 32-bit operating system, x64-based processor

    Edition Windows 10 Home
    Version 22H2 build 19045.3570
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2 22631.2506
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Mini 210-1090NR PC (bought in late 2009!)
    CPU
    Atom N450 1.66GHz
    Memory
    2GB
There is no app that restores the OS only but does not restore apps etc.

You can do a full system image backup of OS plus programs/settings etc. with many tools like Macrium Reflect, AOMEI Backupper, Hasleo Backup suite etc. You can include data drives/partitions as well.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0
There is no app that restores the OS only but does not restore apps etc.

You can do a full system image backup of OS plus programs/settings etc. with many tools like Macrium Reflect, AOMEI Backupper, Hasleo Backup suite etc. You can include data drives/partitions as well.
Apparently, with AOMEI Backuper, that's only available in the paid version. That seems like an interesting option right? I mean, what can be better than backing up OS, apps and settings and then restoring them if the OS gets corrupted?. That should always work, right? you can then update Windows. I'm used to just reinstalling Winndows and going to the drudge of reinstalling apps, data, changing settings etc.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Gigabyte B550M DS3H
What's wrong with a full disk image? You can restore in minutes even if Windows won't boot. Perhaps could describe in more detail exactly what you wish to achieve. Another option would be to move apps and data to a separate disk or partition. This would make the OS partition a lot smaller.
well, a full image backup would wipe your current data and get you back to the old data you had when you backed up.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Gigabyte B550M DS3H
As kelper says, have all of your documents and specific apps on another drive or partition.
I have my documents on a separate drive and so if i need to revert to a backup for some reason my documents and emails are still current and up to date.
It works well especially if you're a tinkerer and manage to break windows like i do (or at least crack the window).
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    N/A
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 5 5600x
    Motherboard
    ASUS Crosshair Viii Hero Wi Fi
    Memory
    32 Gb DDR4 3600MHz GSkill
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVidia Geforce 950
    Sound Card
    USB Out NAD M51 DAC with Adams A8 speakers
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell 3219Q
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    2 x Samsung EVO 970 1 Gb SSD
    PSU
    Seasonic 1200W
    Case
    CoolerMaster ATCS 840
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-U12S Chromax
    Keyboard
    Roccat FX
    Mouse
    Steel Series Rival 650 Wirelss
    Internet Speed
    Starlink 94Mbps down 20Mbps up
    Browser
    Brave
    Antivirus
    ESET
As kelper says, have all of your documents and specific apps on another drive or partition.
I have my documents on a separate drive and so if i need to revert to a backup for some reason my documents and emails are still current and up to date.
It works well especially if you're a tinkerer and manage to break windows like i do (or at least crack the window).
but doesn't that have side effects? like you having to map the user's folders to the other volume? or something similar. I tried this before and eventually desisted, don't remember exactly why
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Gigabyte B550M DS3H
I went with Macrium Reflect (MR) years ago (don’t remember the exact number of years but it’s been a while). I have it set to automatically do daily images (full once a week with incrementals in between) to a Synology NAS. I have only had to do a restore twice but it was simple and took less than 20 minutes to be back up and running. I also use Carbonite for continuous cloud backup of all critical files so can also restore any file changes that are made between MR images if needed. So far it has worked well for my requirements.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell/XPS 15 9530
    CPU
    13th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) i9-13900H 2.60 GHz
    Motherboard
    Manufacturer Dell Inc. Model 00KH17 Version A00
    Memory
    32 GB, 2 x 16 GB, DDR5, 4800 MT/s, dual-channel
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel(R) Iris(R) Xe Graphics, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell S2722QC
    Hard Drives
    1 TB M.2 2280 solid-state drive
    Keyboard
    Logitech Illuminated Keyboard K740
    Mouse
    Logitech BT M557
    Internet Speed
    200/10
    Browser
    Chrome, FireFox
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender
Any app (best if free) to do a "system state" backup of Windows 10/11 so that I can restore only the OS while preserving all installed apps and user data? I mean: to achieve something similar to what you can do with an In-place upgrade. The issue with an In-place upgrade is that Windows has to be able to boot in order to do it.

I'm looking for something like Windows Server Backup does with the "system state" backup.
I tried with AOMEI Backupper Standard free, but it doesn't offer this option (it backs up the full system drive).

Any help much appreciated

so that I can restore only the OS while preserving all installed apps and user data?

Technically, yes. It's called an in-place upgrade - and all you need is a Windows .ISO with the same edition (Home, Pro, etc.) that you currently have installed.

See our wonderful tutorial on the subject at:


Caveat: This only works from inside Windows 11, so it does need to already be a working install.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 23H2 Current build
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HomeBrew
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
    Motherboard
    MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE
    Memory
    4 * 32 GB - Corsair Vengeance 3600 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti XC3 ULTRA GAMING (12G-P5-3955-KR)
    Sound Card
    Realtek® ALC1220 Codec
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2x Eve Spectrum ES07D03 4K Gaming Monitor (Matte) | Eve Spectrum ES07DC9 4K Gaming Monitor (Glossy)
    Screen Resolution
    3x 3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    3x Samsung 980 Pro NVMe PCIe 4 M.2 2 TB SSD (MZ-V8P2T0B/AM) } 3x Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 1 TB SSD (USB)
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling’s Silencer Series 1050 Watt, 80 Plus Platinum
    Case
    Fractal Design Define 7 XL Dark ATX Full Tower Case
    Cooling
    Arctic Liquid Freezer III 420 RGB + Air 3x 140mm case fans (pull front) + 1x 120 mm (push back) and 1 x 120 mm (pull bottom)
    Keyboard
    SteelSeries Apex Pro Wired Gaming Keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3S | MX Master 3 for Business
    Internet Speed
    AT&T LightSpeed Gigabit Duplex Ftth
    Browser
    Nightly (default) + Firefox (stable), Chrome, Edge , Arc
    Antivirus
    Defender + MB 5 Beta
  • Operating System
    ChromeOS Flex Dev Channel (current)
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Latitude E5470
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-6300U CPU @ 2.40GHz, 2501 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
    Motherboard
    Dell
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel(R) HD Graphics 520
    Sound Card
    Intel(R) HD Graphics 520 + RealTek Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell laptop display 15"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 * 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 128GB M.2 22300 drive
    INTEL Cherryville 520 Series SSDSC2CW180A 180 GB SATA III SSD
    PSU
    Dell
    Case
    Dell
    Cooling
    Dell
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3S (shared w. Sys 1) | Dell TouchPad
    Keyboard
    Dell
    Internet Speed
    AT&T LightSpeed Gigabit Duplex Ftth
Thanks for your answers. I've created this post regarding this. I'd appreciate opinions
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Gigabyte B550M DS3H
Images are what I have done in the past....and still do from time to time. However, I have found with Windows 7, 10 and 11 that honestly I run into very few problems that ever cause me to restore my images. I remember the old days with Windows XP and such where I would format and reinstall every 6 months or so to get my system back up to running clean and fast again. But my Windows 10 gaming box is 3.5 years old now and I installed Windows 10 on it, and haven't reinstalled since.

I'm like others, I try to keep as much data off my "c" drive as I possibly can. These days that's so much easier than it was 15+ years ago. My email is all in gmail (so nothing to backup). My browser bookmarks are all in my Google account, so nothing to backup. Most of my "files" are in OneDrive and in the cloud as well as my PC so less concerned about having to back all that up every day. My games are mostly all online and my stats and such are all tied to my game account in the cloud, so nothing to backup here.

I'm not aware of an application to restore just your OS, and have it find all of your apps and data and such and magically restore all of the functionality to make that work, registry settings, etc.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Beelink SEI8
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-8279u
    Motherboard
    AZW SEI
    Memory
    32GB DDR4 2666Mhz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus 655
    Sound Card
    Intel SST
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Asus ProArt PA278QV
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    512GB NVMe
    PSU
    NA
    Case
    NA
    Cooling
    NA
    Keyboard
    NA
    Mouse
    NA
    Internet Speed
    500/50
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    Mini PC used for testing Windows 11.
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom
    CPU
    Ryzen 9 5900x
    Motherboard
    Asus Rog Strix X570-E Gaming
    Memory
    64GB DDR4-3600
    Graphics card(s)
    EVGA GeForce 3080 FT3 Ultra
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ASUS TUF Gaming VG27AQ. ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV 27” WQHD
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    2TB WD SN850 PCI-E Gen 4 NVMe
    2TB Sandisk Ultra 2.5" SATA SSD
    PSU
    Seasonic Focus 850
    Case
    Fractal Meshify S2 in White
    Cooling
    Dark Rock Pro CPU cooler, 3 x 140mm case fans
    Mouse
    Logitech G9 Laser Mouse
    Keyboard
    Corsiar K65 RGB Lux
    Internet Speed
    500/50
    Browser
    Chrome
    Antivirus
    Defender.
Images are what I have done in the past....and still do from time to time. However, I have found with Windows 7, 10 and 11 that honestly I run into very few problems that ever cause me to restore my images. I remember the old days with Windows XP and such where I would format and reinstall every 6 months or so to get my system back up to running clean and fast again. But my Windows 10 gaming box is 3.5 years old now and I installed Windows 10 on it, and haven't reinstalled since.

I'm like others, I try to keep as much data off my "c" drive as I possibly can. These days that's so much easier than it was 15+ years ago. My email is all in gmail (so nothing to backup). My browser bookmarks are all in my Google account, so nothing to backup. Most of my "files" are in OneDrive and in the cloud as well as my PC so less concerned about having to back all that up every day. My games are mostly all online and my stats and such are all tied to my game account in the cloud, so nothing to backup here.

I'm not aware of an application to restore just your OS, and have it find all of your apps and data and such and magically restore all of the functionality to make that work, registry settings, etc.
There's a convoluted way of doing this -- The caveat is that it needs a full physical disk.

Simply attach your Windows drive to a VM as a "physical disk" and then snapshot the VM. Then exit the VM and you can use your Windows disk as normal.
To restore simply restore the snapshot of the VM and the physical drive should be what it was when you snapshotted the VM.

Cheers
jimbo
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    2 X Intel i7

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