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How to: take a system image of your computer

To revert to better times

For safekeeping
For safekeeping

A system image, otherwise referred to as a hard drive snapshot, is an image of your computer at its current state that can be stored and applied to a hard drive at any given time. If you’re a hardcore gamer, a computer enthusiast, or just a normal person who hates having to reinstall their operating system whenever there is a problem, having a system image of your files, programs, settings, music, and movies is a great way to quickly return to a previous stage of your computer’s life.

There are a ton of tools you can use to do this, some third party and others built into the OS, but I will cover the ways I do it in my home for my PC.

Now, before we begin, I am going to write this assuming you are going to be setting up a computer with a fresh install of the operating system. You can follow these steps regardless, but just note that if you follow these steps and your computer is filled with viruses or the operating system is corrupt, well all that bad data will be saved.

Once you have installed all the programs, settings, and have all the data you want, do the following:

1. Download Tuxboot and CloneZilla. CloneZilla will be the application we will use to create an image of the hard drive, and Tuxboot is what we will use to mount it to the USB Flash Drive so that we can boot to it.

2. Once these applications are downloaded, plug in the Flash Drive that you will be using and format it clean, as we will be using this Flash Drive for CloneZilla. Go to Windows/My Computer, and right-click on My Computer and select Manage. Select the disk (making sure you do NOT select C: drive or another drive you are using) and right click and format it to NTFS Quick, and give it a Drive Letter.

3. Open up Tuxboot. Once Tuxboot opens, click on the bottom and choose ISO and click the button to find the location of the CloneZilla live .ISO file. Once that is complete, make sure that the drive you are mounting CloneZilla to is the USB Flash Drive. Hit OK.

4. Reboot the computer and boot off of the USB Flash Drive. Go into BIOS. I don’t know what key that is for your computer but it is either F2 or the DEL key by default. Once you are in, go into your BOOT section and manually boot off of the USB Flash Drive. This will start CloneZilla.