GT Explains: Difference Between Recovery Drive and System Image in Windows 10

GT Explains: Difference Between Recovery Drive and System Image in Windows 10

Windows offers several ways to back up your valuable data on your computer. You can use the recently launched backup feature to save different versions of files to an external hard drive. There are recovery disk and system image features that allow you to back up entire drives.

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Although the backup function is explicit, what is the difference between Recovery Drive and System Image? Why do we need two different options?

More importantly, how can we make a backup using both methods? You need to ask yourself about the most appropriate option among these two. Well, we will answer all these questions and concerns about Recovery Drive and System Image in this message below.

Let's start.

1. Recovery Reader

The job of a recovery disk is to restore the original state of the computer. From now on, this state of origin can mean the factory settings or the copy of your Windows environment. It is similar to the factory reset of Android. It's almost like formatting your computer. Yes, you guessed it well. It does not include your desktop applications and personal files.

Because Recovery Drive will restore everything it was when first booting your computer, its size is usually smaller. All third-party applications and programs are omitted during the backup process. As such, it is not useful for recovering deleted files or other user data.

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The recovery drive is typically used in extreme situations where your computer stops responding, hangs and you have no other choice.

The recovery disk also calls recovery disk or system recovery disk. It's because at the time, people were using a DVD or a CD to create one. Nowadays, bootable pen drives are preferred because they are easy to transport, less likely to be damaged, and offer better data transfer speed.

Most modern computers come with a built-in recovery drive. It is kept hidden from the user to protect its integrity from accidental deletion. But Windows 10 has changed the game and the need to create a separate bootable USB recovery drive.

2. Image of the system

System Image, on the other hand, will create a copy of the complete partition of the hard drive. However, it creates a single large file in the process. System Image is normally used to back up the primary partition or to any other location where you have installed your Windows operating system. As such, it contains your user data, program files, startup files, registry entries and all the files and folders associated with your operating system.

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Typically, a system image file is larger than Recovery Drive. Indeed, it also requires a backup of the user data as well as applications and programs installed by the user. Although System Image is a single file containing everything, there are ways to extract individual files and folders without performing a full restore.

The system image is best when you want to restore lost data such as files or applications. On the other hand, it excludes other readers of the process. This is why Microsoft has defined a separate backup option in Windows 10.

3. How to create a recovery disc

Open the Control Panel and search for Create Recovery Drive. Open it. Enter the administrator password.

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You will need at least 16 GB of USB key. All the data you have on it will be erased, so make sure they are empty and formatted. Connect it to a USB port on your computer.

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Select the Back up system files to recovery drive option and click Next. The process may take a while. Do not make any changes to your computer before the process is complete. Safely remove your USB key once done. Label it accordingly and store it safely somewhere.

To restore your computer to its original state, you start your computer from the USB drive. To do this, press the F2 or F10 key while the setup screen is displayed during startup.

Prevention is better than cure

It is wise to make a backup of your system regularly for a rainy day. Sooner or later, we all face a situation where things are not going according to plan. Readers can crash, the system can be hacked, laptops get stolen, and the list goes on. We do not want to scare you. However, a backup will protect you from all these unforeseen disasters and could save you the day.

Then: Do you want to save photos? Find out which is the best solution between OneDrive and Google Photos.

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