Q&A Which method is the best way to restore a system?

Back3

Level 7
Apr 14, 2019
347
Very often, before installing an app, I make a restore point. So, if I don't like the app and the uninstall goes bad, I just restore my system. But before installing something big, like a security app, I make an image and as blackice said, I just reimage to my backup if for any reason, I dislike the app. If I do that kind of reimaging many days later, it's important to make sure my data, like My Documents, My pictures , can be restored to the latest version. I use Syncback Free to sync my data.
 
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dark_wielder

Level 2
Mar 7, 2020
68
I think it is absolutely backup software. I especially recommend the free version of Macrium. I am very happy with the Macrium and it does its job quite well.
You can take your backups regularly and come back as needed. These backups take up a lot of space, each taking an average of 15-20 GB.

Let me explain the method I use.
  • I take my backup after a clean format.
  • After updating my Windows system and making its settings, I take a backup.
  • After installing simple everyday programs, I take a backup. (I am going back to this backup to test other security combinations.)
  • Finally, I setup my security softwares and settings and take backup.
If I have a problem or don't like an application I tried, I am restoring my system. I make all these adjustments only on disk C and I have no important information on C disk. I back up my important documents in the cloud on another disk. So I restore my important information without thinking.
 
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Divine_Barakah

Level 27
Verified
May 10, 2019
1,609
I am not a fan of Windows restore points. I prefer full system backups using one of the well-know imaging software. This is the most relaible way to backup and restore sytem you can compress you backup image to save space, encrypt you image to prevent data theft and restore full system image in mins.
 

DSD27

Level 5
Apr 15, 2020
227
Format and clean installation.
I have all my documents, pictures, etc, in my HDD, if I have a problem with windows that I can't fix, even with a restore point, I just clean the SSD and do a fresh installation. Don't waste time with other rolling, it's never as good as fresh.
 
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Divine_Barakah

Level 27
Verified
May 10, 2019
1,609
Don't waste time with other rolling, it's never as good as fresh.
Whenever I do a clean installation, I install drivers and Windows updates and then create a full system image. Why should not be this as good as fresh? Fresh Windows installation is time-consuming while restoring a system image takes less than 10 mins.
 
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JoyousBudweiser

Level 11
Verified
Aug 22, 2013
501
I have a base image with windows 10 with most basic drivers installed and I have monthly image backups with all data backup with imaging software. The imaging software takes incremental backup and saves space. So I prefer an image restore in case of something goes awfully bad. Reinstall is least preferred. Oh and my most precious data has 4 copies one in onedrive another in Google drive and rest two in two different hard drive.
 

DSD27

Level 5
Apr 15, 2020
227
Whenever I do a clean installation, I install drivers and Windows updates and then create a full system image. Why should not be this as good as fresh? Fresh Windows installation is time-consuming while restoring a system image takes less than 10 mins.
That boot image will only be up-to-date for some time... then you'll have to make a new one. Unless you need to do a clean installation every month or so, it's not that much of a difference in terms of being time-consuming. When I have a problem and need to do a clean installation, more than a year passed by, the updates will be outdated and probably drivers and utilities too.
 

shmu26

Level 85
Verified
Trusted
Content Creator
Jul 3, 2015
8,033
I am not a fan of Windows restore points. I prefer full system backups using one of the well-know imaging software. This is the most relaible way to backup and restore sytem you can compress you backup image to save space, encrypt you image to prevent data theft and restore full system image in mins.
+1
Windows restore point, if it even succeeds in running, often fails to fix the problem.
It's better than nothing...
 

scorpionv

Level 2
Apr 20, 2020
64
Restoring a clean image is the quick and easy way, but the clean image gets outdated pretty quick. You end up running a lot of Windows and driver updates after reimaging. So once in a while I do a clean install with the lastest Microsoft ISO and the latest drivers, do all Windows updates, and create a new clean image after that.

My data is on a seperate disk, and backupped to the cloud, so before reimaging / reinstall I just deactivate any licenses and reactivate 'm after reimaging / reinstall.

Windows restore points are deactivated here, that expresses my opinion about them.
 

SecurityNightmares

Level 35
Verified
Jan 9, 2020
2,462
Windows internal feature is best.
It exist even many ways:

- Reset from Windows itself
- InPlace upgrades from a running windows (with iso file)
- start from DVD / USB and repair

And if you prepare yourself before the problem:
Using Windows PE DVD

Their exist no reason to use third party :)
 

scorpionv

Level 2
Apr 20, 2020
64
Windows internal feature is best.
It exist even many ways:

- Reset from Windows itself
- InPlace upgrades from a running windows (with iso file)
- start from DVD / USB and repair

And if you prepare yourself before the problem:
Using Windows PE DVD

Their exist no reason to use third party :)

You are right about a repair after a small problem, like messing up something by installing a certain program. However, Windows is unable to repair itself completely in all scenarios, for example (but not limited to) hardware failure, virus or malware infection. Then reimaging or reinstalling is pretty much the only option. That can be done from Windows PE, but there are easier options in my opinion. I also like the generic approach, just go with the solution that always works, even if it takes a little longer.
 

Divine_Barakah

Level 27
Verified
May 10, 2019
1,609
That boot image will only be up-to-date for some time... then you'll have to make a new one. Unless you need to do a clean installation every month or so, it's not that much of a difference in terms of being time-consuming. When I have a problem and need to do a clean installation, more than a year passed by, the updates will be outdated and probably drivers and utilities too.
You've got a valid point here. What I do to keep the image updated, I create a backup scheme. I create a full system backup then a series of incremental backups (which I later merge into the base backup). That way I can keep my backup up-to-date
 

blackice

Level 31
Verified
Apr 1, 2019
2,061
Windows internal feature is best.
It exist even many ways:

- Reset from Windows itself
- InPlace upgrades from a running windows (with iso file)
- start from DVD / USB and repair

And if you prepare yourself before the problem:
Using Windows PE DVD

Their exist no reason to use third party :)
Except I used the built in tools and got a hard error that borked my Windows. I had to do a clean install. I find Macrium Reflect much more user friendly and reliable. To be fair I don’t know what went wrong with the windows image, probably due to my lack of knowledge. But I’ve reimaged with Macrium several times without issue.
 

Divine_Barakah

Level 27
Verified
May 10, 2019
1,609
Except I used the built in tools and got a hard error that borked my Windows. I had to do a clean install. I find Macrium Reflect much more user friendly and reliable. To be fair I don’t know what went wrong with the windows image, probably due to my lack of knowledge. But I’ve reimaged with Macrium several times without issue.
In my experience, Mcarium was the fastest imaging software but I do not use it for it is expensive ( I do not want to use the free version) and it wipes WUH.
 
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