Is an "Image" Better Than System Restore Point?

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  1. Posts : 308
    W10 Home x64

    Is an "Image" Better Than System Restore Point?

    Im a non-tech basic user. lost bunch of usb's, other important stuff from some house troubles. I had written down how to "fix" things in case of a "crash", etc., but now it's gone, and I cant remember things.

    Is syst retore points okay, or is what's called an 'image or picture' of everything better/easierr to get things up and running again if things "crash"?

    And I think I read if comp wont come on, a special made usb can make it come on so things can then be fixed. had a friend just do some clicks so I have a syst restore point. is there more/better/easier things to do in case of a crash/virus, etc?
    W10 version #2004
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  2. Ghot's Avatar
    Posts : 12,964
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19044.1288 (x64) [21H2]

    Backups are much better than System Restore.
    Most on here use Macrium Reflect with it's bootable rescue media (USB or DVD).

    You will need somewhere to save the backup, which will be about 1/2 the size of your Windows installation.
    Somewhere like another internal drive, or maybe an external drive.

    You can "restore" from a backup either from within the program, or from the rescue media (if Windows won't boot).

    Macrium Software | Reflect Free Edition

    We even have a tutorial for the program... Backup and Restore with Macrium Reflect

    Very short, quick reference for making a full OS image backup...

    Is an "Image" Better Than System Restore Point?-000000-macrium.png

    Making the Bootable Rescue Media (#2 choose either USB or CD)

    Is an "Image" Better Than System Restore Point?-image4.png
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  3. FreeBooter's Avatar
    Posts : 4,285
    Windows 11 Pro 64-bit

    System restore points won't restore your personal files it is used to repair corrupt Windows operating system.
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  4. spunk's Avatar
    Posts : 3,196
    Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit 20H2

    System Restore is not reliable and won't be of any help if the computer won't boot or there is an issue with the HDD.
    We all suggest Creating an Image file. Using Macrium Reflect or your favorite Imaging software. It is suggested to use a Bootable Rescue Media within the software to boot your computer with.
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  5. Steve C's Avatar
    Posts : 6,925
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit

    FWIW I'm so impressed with Macrium Reflect that I use Reflect image file backups and turned off System Restore. Reflect can usually recover a working PC quicker than using System Restore. In the past I also found System Restore unreliable since it didn't fix the problem.
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  6. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 33,101
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H1)

    System Restore and disk imaging are complementary and very different.

    SR is useful - when it completes restoring. It may unexpectedly start failing to do so.

    What does System Restore restore?
    - system files, drivers, registry, a specific range of mostly executable file types.

    It won't work if
    - your registry is corrupt
    - your disk is failing or is corrupt

    It probably won't help if your system is unbootable.

    It protects nothing outside some files on C: - and Windows (UEFI) consists of 4 partitions.

    It does not protect data on C: or data partitions.

    Disk imaging gives you compressed copies of the used parts of all partitions imaged- system and data, normally saved to storage such as a USB HDD - which can be stored separately and securely offline (unaffected by subsequent viruses or ransomware).

    You can use that if your disk has failed to restore your environment to a new disk- or even a new PC.
    It acts as a full backup from which you can copy files if you need to.

    I use both, with a restore point scheduled daily (tutorial available).
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  7. Posts : 308
    W10 Home x64
    Thread Starter

    is "bootable rescue media"...on a usb stick...something that makes the computer come on if something happens and it wont turn on the normal way? someone told me if comp wont come on, then it's over, obviously cannot try anything if it wont come on.
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  8. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 33,101
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H1)

    Thank you for your reply.

    If the computer's dead, it's dead.
    If the system disk is corrupt or has failed, but the hardware is otherwise ok, then booting from a bootable disk is useful.
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  9. Posts : 308
    W10 Home x64
    Thread Starter

    so dead is dead. I dont get it. 'booting' means turning it on. so it sounds like when it wont come on the normal way ("on" button), you can 'boot' it on by sticking in the rescue media/usb stick.

    but if 'booting' from rescue media/usb stick cannot turn it on, then how/what does it 'rescue'?

    and I "need somewhere else to save the backup". I thought the "somewhere else" meant on a usb stick?

    maybe making things too complicated. Just basic user, dont have important documents, files, record keeping stuff, etc. If things start acting crazy, just want to be able to get things almost back to normal if possible, easiest way, sounds like an "image" thing is quicker and easier that a 'system restore' thing, but a lot more work to make it,
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  10. Callender's Avatar
    Posts : 4,481
    21H1 64 Bit Home

    System Restore doesn't monitor or backup all files and folders but can undo changes after installing software or drivers.

    Here are a couple of videos:

    Pro's and Con's of system restore:

    If your computer won't boot (into windows) due to a software issue or faulty driver or a critical file that was removed or deleted or a problem with MBR then booting from a rescue USB allows you to restore a previously created image backup.

    Most times if I have a hard to fix issue I will image the current system, restore the backup image then copy missing personal files or folders from the backup that I made using the option to mount the backup in Explorer and transfer the files across.

    Typically just make a system image backup once per month before each patch Tuesday and store on an external drive. Or if you are not bothered about hard disk failure and total data loss you can opt to create a small partition on your hard drive for system image backups.
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