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Tech Tip #87: Image Your Computer

Posted by on June 2, 2014

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each week, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: I hate reformatting my computer. I lose all the extras I’ve added (like Jing) I forget which software I have on their (sure, I remember MS Office, but what about Google Earth? Celestia?) And then there are all the personalizations I’ve put on that get lost with the reformat. Is there any way to make that process easier?

A: Glad you asked. Yes–create an image of your hard drive. This is a picture of what your hard drive looks like, including all the programs and extras, that is saved in a secure back-up area. When you reformat, all you have to do is copy the image back to the computer. Mine is in the Cloud. Even if my two internal drives explode, I’m good.

Here’s what you do:

  • Click the start button.
  • Go to Control Panel
  • Select ‘Backup and Restore’
  • On the left sidebar, you’ll see an option for ‘create a system image’. Select that.
  • Follow directions (it’ll ask which drive to use for the image–stuff like that)

From there, you’ll select a drive with sufficient space and start. You can work on your computer while it’s backing up.

BUT–this only backs up the system. To do the entire computer takes a different approach. I use Carbonite. They back up my data files automatically and for an extra fee, image my entire computer. I just did this and the only tricky part was they required a separate disc for  the image. For about $30, I bought a half-terabyte external drive that is now designated ‘Image’. If you’re interested in Carbonite, click their logo in my sidebar for a special deal.

ADDITIONALLY–under the file of ‘paranoid’, I have a second internal drive that automatically images everything I do. If my hard drive crashes, I simply swap in the back-up and it looks like nothing happened. But I am crazy about this stuff–don’t feel you have to do that.

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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of dozens of technology training books that integrate technology into education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a tech ed columnist for, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out next summer.



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