Create and restore system image


Bunny

New member
Local time
1:37 PM
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2
OS
windows 11
Hi,
I'm fairly new to Windows so be gentle.

I wanna copy over all of my settings and files (including wsl2 installation and files) to another computer.
I think I have concluded that I should do a complete system backup and restore. I only have a USB drive for the purpose and there are some data on it which I wanna keep. Furthermore, I wanna create a backup the system that is already running on the new computer. In researching ways to do this, I have a few unanswered questions:

- I can backup/restore windows using the built-in tools or third party software. Third party is recommended and Macrium Reflect seems to be the standard. Is this correct?
- Is it correct that I need to make the USB drive bootable in addition to creating the system image on there if I choose to use the Windows built-in method?
- If I use Macrium Reflect will this be done 'automatically' for me? Do I choose it as part of creating the image?
- Can I store multiple system images on the same (bootable) USB drive or will creating one erase everything on it?
- Can the above be avoided by partitioning the USB drive? And can this be achieved as part of the process when using Macrium Reflect.
- Will I need my windows key for the restore part of the process? If so, should I use the one from my new computer or the old one? NB: at some point (after the old comes back from repair) I will need them both to run windows on their respective keys.

I hope this post is clear enough. It's not easy to find the right instructions and information.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    windows 11
Many here, including me, use Marium for backups. You can use the free version:

You do need a USB bootable dive. Macrium will help create that, which you'll need for system restores. I'd use the USB for just that. You boot using the USB boot drive and then select the image you want to restore. You can pick up a small USB drive relatively cheaply.

No need for the Windows key.

I think I answered everything.
 
Last edited:

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 24H2 RP channel
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home built
    CPU
    Ryzen 9 5900X
    Motherboard
    MSI MPG X570S Edge Max WiFi
    Memory
    Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO 64GB (2x32GB) DDR4 3600 (PC4-28800) C18
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS GeForce RTX 4070 Super OC 12GB DDR6 / ZOTAC RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC 12GB GDDR6
    Sound Card
    Proprietary on MB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ViewSonic XG2530 25"/Benq XL2411P 24"/ ASUS VA24DQSB) 23.8"
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080 240Hz/144Hz/60Hz (based on monitor setup above)
    Hard Drives
    SK hynix Gold P31 1TB PCIe NVMe Gen3 M.2 2280 Internal SSD
    ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD
    PSU
    Corsair RM1000e
    Case
    Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chassis with Window
    Cooling
    Corsair iCUE H60i RGB PRO XT Liquid CPU Cooler
    Keyboard
    Corsair K70
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    ~950Mb/s download / ~700Mb/s upload
    Browser
    Edge (Chromium)
    Antivirus
    Norton 360
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    CPU
    Ryzen 7 3700X
    Motherboard
    MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Gaming Motherboard
    Memory
    32MB DDR4
    Graphics card(s)
    I forget, but it's old. I can't see the need to upgrade it.
    Sound Card
    Propietary
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ACER LED 24"
    Screen Resolution
    1920X1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung SSD 3.5"
    Case
    Corsair
    Cooling
    Stock
    Mouse
    Logitech
    Keyboard
    Logitech
    Internet Speed
    ~750Mb/s download / ~750Mb/s upload
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender and Malware Bytes
@Bunny What JV has said is very good, you could also make the pc show the boot menu on start up for normal boot and to Macrium recovery, good when the computer is new and it can be turned off if not wanted. that is from Other tasks>Create rescue media and select the required option. I would suggest getting the free version and having a good play with it first so you feel comfortable with it. I think, if you want to clone a drive you need the paid version though
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Alienware M18 R1
    CPU
    13th Gen Core i9 13900HX
    Memory
    32GB DDR5 @4800MHz 2x16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Geforce RTX 4090HX 16GB
    Sound Card
    Nvidia HD / Realtek ALC3254
    Monitor(s) Displays
    18" QHD+
    Screen Resolution
    25660 X 1600
    Hard Drives
    C: KIOXIA (Toshiba) 2TB KXG80ZNV2T04 NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD
    D: KIOXIA (Toshiba) 2TB KXG80ZNV2T04 NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD
    Case
    Dark Metallic Moon
    Keyboard
    Alienware M Series per-key AlienFX RGB
    Mouse
    Alienware AW610M
    Browser
    Chrome and Firefox
    Antivirus
    Norton
    Other Info
    Killer E3000 Ethernet Controller
    Killer Killer AX1690 Wi-Fi Network Adaptor Wi-Fi 6E
    Bluetooth 5.2
    Alienware Z01G Graphic Amplifier
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Alienware Area 51m R2
    CPU
    10th Gen i-9 10900 K
    Memory
    32Gb Dual Channel DDR4 @ 8843MHz
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia RTX 2080 Super
    Sound Card
    Nvidia
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Hard Drive C: Samsung 2TB SSD PM981a NVMe
    Hard Drive D:Samsung 2TB SSD 970 EVO Plus
    Mouse
    Alienware 610M
    Browser
    Chrome
    Antivirus
    Norton
Hi,
I'm fairly new to Windows so be gentle.

I wanna copy over all of my settings and files (including wsl2 installation and files) to another computer.
I think I have concluded that I should do a complete system backup and restore. I only have a USB drive for the purpose and there are some data on it which I wanna keep. Furthermore, I wanna create a backup the system that is already running on the new computer. In researching ways to do this, I have a few unanswered questions:

- I can backup/restore windows using the built-in tools or third party software. Third party is recommended and Macrium Reflect seems to be the standard. Is this correct?
- Is it correct that I need to make the USB drive bootable in addition to creating the system image on there if I choose to use the Windows built-in method?
- If I use Macrium Reflect will this be done 'automatically' for me? Do I choose it as part of creating the image?
- Can I store multiple system images on the same (bootable) USB drive or will creating one erase everything on it?
- Can the above be avoided by partitioning the USB drive? And can this be achieved as part of the process when using Macrium Reflect.
- Will I need my windows key for the restore part of the process? If so, should I use the one from my new computer or the old one? NB: at some point (after the old comes back from repair) I will need them both to run windows on their respective keys.

I hope this post is clear enough. It's not easy to find the right instructions and information.
Also, Bunny - welcome to the forum!
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 24H2 RP channel
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home built
    CPU
    Ryzen 9 5900X
    Motherboard
    MSI MPG X570S Edge Max WiFi
    Memory
    Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO 64GB (2x32GB) DDR4 3600 (PC4-28800) C18
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS GeForce RTX 4070 Super OC 12GB DDR6 / ZOTAC RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC 12GB GDDR6
    Sound Card
    Proprietary on MB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ViewSonic XG2530 25"/Benq XL2411P 24"/ ASUS VA24DQSB) 23.8"
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080 240Hz/144Hz/60Hz (based on monitor setup above)
    Hard Drives
    SK hynix Gold P31 1TB PCIe NVMe Gen3 M.2 2280 Internal SSD
    ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD
    PSU
    Corsair RM1000e
    Case
    Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chassis with Window
    Cooling
    Corsair iCUE H60i RGB PRO XT Liquid CPU Cooler
    Keyboard
    Corsair K70
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    ~950Mb/s download / ~700Mb/s upload
    Browser
    Edge (Chromium)
    Antivirus
    Norton 360
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    CPU
    Ryzen 7 3700X
    Motherboard
    MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Gaming Motherboard
    Memory
    32MB DDR4
    Graphics card(s)
    I forget, but it's old. I can't see the need to upgrade it.
    Sound Card
    Propietary
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ACER LED 24"
    Screen Resolution
    1920X1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung SSD 3.5"
    Case
    Corsair
    Cooling
    Stock
    Mouse
    Logitech
    Keyboard
    Logitech
    Internet Speed
    ~750Mb/s download / ~750Mb/s upload
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender and Malware Bytes
Thanks for the swift reply.
If I hear you right, you advise that I use a dedicated USB drive for the purpose. I.e. don't keep data I'll be sad to lose on there, correct?
So I guess it's not possible to partition the USB drive first and only use one partition for the system image?
In that case I guess I will need three USB drives for 2x system images and 1x the data currently on my existing USB drive. Unless I put the data onto one of my windows instances and include it in one of the two system images :/
The entire process seems overly complicated.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    windows 11
Thanks for the swift reply.
If I hear you right, you advise that I use a dedicated USB drive for the purpose. I.e. don't keep data I'll be sad to lose on there, correct?
So I guess it's not possible to partition the USB drive first and only use one partition for the system image?
In that case I guess I will need three USB drives for 2x system images and 1x the data currently on my existing USB drive. Unless I put the data onto one of my windows instances and include it in one of the two system images :/
The entire process seems overly complicated.
No, I wouldn't put the system image on the same drive as the USB boot. The drive image is usually around half the size of the drive you're backing up. Personally, I use an external SSD for my backup drive. Some use the cloud. Some use both. I'm not sure how you'd use the cloud, though.

You can store multiple backups/images on the same drive. I have three different drives backed up to my external SSD. So, you'd really only need two drives - the USB for the Macrium boot files and a drive for the images.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 24H2 RP channel
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home built
    CPU
    Ryzen 9 5900X
    Motherboard
    MSI MPG X570S Edge Max WiFi
    Memory
    Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO 64GB (2x32GB) DDR4 3600 (PC4-28800) C18
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS GeForce RTX 4070 Super OC 12GB DDR6 / ZOTAC RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC 12GB GDDR6
    Sound Card
    Proprietary on MB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ViewSonic XG2530 25"/Benq XL2411P 24"/ ASUS VA24DQSB) 23.8"
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080 240Hz/144Hz/60Hz (based on monitor setup above)
    Hard Drives
    SK hynix Gold P31 1TB PCIe NVMe Gen3 M.2 2280 Internal SSD
    ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD
    PSU
    Corsair RM1000e
    Case
    Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chassis with Window
    Cooling
    Corsair iCUE H60i RGB PRO XT Liquid CPU Cooler
    Keyboard
    Corsair K70
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    ~950Mb/s download / ~700Mb/s upload
    Browser
    Edge (Chromium)
    Antivirus
    Norton 360
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    CPU
    Ryzen 7 3700X
    Motherboard
    MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Gaming Motherboard
    Memory
    32MB DDR4
    Graphics card(s)
    I forget, but it's old. I can't see the need to upgrade it.
    Sound Card
    Propietary
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ACER LED 24"
    Screen Resolution
    1920X1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung SSD 3.5"
    Case
    Corsair
    Cooling
    Stock
    Mouse
    Logitech
    Keyboard
    Logitech
    Internet Speed
    ~750Mb/s download / ~750Mb/s upload
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender and Malware Bytes
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