Create and restore system image


Bunny

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4:18 AM
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2
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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

jvickers

The lunatics have taken over the asylum
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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
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home built
    CPU
    Ryzen 9 5900X
    Motherboard
    MSI MPG X570 GAMING EDGE WIFI
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    Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 3200 MHz DDR4 DRAM Desktop Gaming Memory 32MB
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    ZOTAC RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC/ ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB GDDR6 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card
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    Proprietary
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ViewSonic XG2530 25"/Benq XL2411P 24"/ Samsung SyncMaster BX2331 23"
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    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
    Thermaltake Smart 700W 80+ White Certified PSU
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    Rosewill ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case, Gaming Case with Blue LED for Desktop
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    Corsair iCUE H60i RGB PRO XT Liquid CPU Cooler
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    Windows 10
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    Home Built
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    AMD FX Black Edition
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    Asus M5A97 LE R2.0
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    16MB DDR
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    I forget, but it's old.
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    Currently taken down because of a lack of space :-(
    Maybe I'll make room somewhere and connect to the Dev channel if possible.

The-Hive

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@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
 

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System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Alienware Area 51m R2
    CPU
    10th Gen Core i9 10900K
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Geforce RTX 2080 Super
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    Nvidia HD
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    1920x1080
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    C: Samsung 2TB P981A
    D: Samsung 2TB 970 Evo
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    Dark side of the moon
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    Alienware AW610M
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    Killer E3000 Ethernet Controller
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    Alienware Z01G Graphic Amplifier
    Tobii Eye Tracker
  • Operating System
    Dual Boot Windows 11 Pro / Windows 11 Pro Dev build
    Computer type
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    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 3501
    CPU
    11th Gen i-7 2.80 gb
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    16Gb
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    512Gb SSD
    WD 2GB EXT
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    Chrome
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    Norton

jvickers

The lunatics have taken over the asylum
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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
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home built
    CPU
    Ryzen 9 5900X
    Motherboard
    MSI MPG X570 GAMING EDGE WIFI
    Memory
    Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 3200 MHz DDR4 DRAM Desktop Gaming Memory 32MB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ZOTAC RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC/ ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB GDDR6 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card
    Sound Card
    Proprietary
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ViewSonic XG2530 25"/Benq XL2411P 24"/ Samsung SyncMaster BX2331 23"
    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
    Thermaltake Smart 700W 80+ White Certified PSU
    Case
    Rosewill ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case, Gaming Case with Blue LED for Desktop
    Cooling
    Corsair iCUE H60i RGB PRO XT Liquid CPU Cooler
    Keyboard
    Corsair K70
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    120MB/s Download/ 10MB/s Upload
    Browser
    Edge (Chromium)
    Antivirus
    Norton 360
  • Operating System
    Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    CPU
    AMD FX Black Edition
    Motherboard
    Asus M5A97 LE R2.0
    Memory
    16MB DDR
    Graphics card(s)
    I forget, but it's old.
    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
    120MB/10MB
    Browser
    Chrome
    Antivirus
    Norton 360
    Other Info
    Currently taken down because of a lack of space :-(
    Maybe I'll make room somewhere and connect to the Dev channel if possible.

Bunny

New member
Thread Starter
Local time
4:18 AM
Posts
2
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.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    windows 11

jvickers

The lunatics have taken over the asylum
Guru
VIP
Local time
10:18 PM
Posts
6,096
Location
Deep South, USA
OS
Windows 11 Pro
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
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home built
    CPU
    Ryzen 9 5900X
    Motherboard
    MSI MPG X570 GAMING EDGE WIFI
    Memory
    Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 3200 MHz DDR4 DRAM Desktop Gaming Memory 32MB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ZOTAC RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC/ ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB GDDR6 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card
    Sound Card
    Proprietary
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ViewSonic XG2530 25"/Benq XL2411P 24"/ Samsung SyncMaster BX2331 23"
    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
    Thermaltake Smart 700W 80+ White Certified PSU
    Case
    Rosewill ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case, Gaming Case with Blue LED for Desktop
    Cooling
    Corsair iCUE H60i RGB PRO XT Liquid CPU Cooler
    Keyboard
    Corsair K70
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    120MB/s Download/ 10MB/s Upload
    Browser
    Edge (Chromium)
    Antivirus
    Norton 360
  • Operating System
    Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    CPU
    AMD FX Black Edition
    Motherboard
    Asus M5A97 LE R2.0
    Memory
    16MB DDR
    Graphics card(s)
    I forget, but it's old.
    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
    120MB/10MB
    Browser
    Chrome
    Antivirus
    Norton 360
    Other Info
    Currently taken down because of a lack of space :-(
    Maybe I'll make room somewhere and connect to the Dev channel if possible.
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