System image restoration restores all the contents of the computer including system files, settings, program files and user files according to what is there in the system image. Since there is no choice given to select individual items to restore, caution must be taken when using this method as a system recovery.

What exactly is a system image?

System image is an exact copy of the system hard drives at the time when the image was created. System image includes system files, settings, program files and almost all the data of the drives that are backed up in the system image. However, a recovery using system image does not restore only the hard drives corresponding to image, instead it formats the whole system.

Risk of losing data

System image restoration would format each and every hard drive of the computer, regardless of the hard drive contents in system image backup. It is advisable to back up data before initiating a system image restore. It cannot be stressed more how important a careful back up process is, before starting a recovery from a system image.

System recovery using recovery control panel

Recovery control panel utility is located within the control panel of the system. This is the recommended method of using the system image recovery, however when the system has failed and there is no access to the recovery control panel via the GUI interface of the system, and alternative access method to the system image recovery is required.

Using preinstalled recovery options

Preinstalled recovery option is useful when the system starts but the recovery control panel is not accessible to restore the system. In this case logging into the boot menu of the Windows at start up would provide options for system recovery. This method is quite straightforward though, because the system guides the user through a step by step process, giving options for each and every step of the procedure.

Installation disk or system repair CD

System recovery options are usually included in the Windows installation disk. However a separate system repair CD can be created in Windows 7 systems. These external disks should be used to restore the system when there is a critical error and when there is no access to the control panel or the advanced boot options. Inserting the CD and restarting the computer should prompt with a dialog box that leads to recovery options within the CD. However, if there is no auto run initiated for the CD and no message was prompted, then there might be a BIOS setting that has to be changed before using external disks for system recovery. Because the computer has to be configured to start from a CD or DVD before attempting this method.

Nevertheless any system recovery option should be the last resort to any issues that may arise within Windows systems. If the persistent problems and errors occur within the system, the automatic system diagnostic tools should scan the system for errors. If this does not fix the issue the cause of the problem has to be identified. Only if the problem is diagnosed as a critical error in the system that cannot be fixed with a simple system restore, the image restore back up has to be used.