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I want to be able to backup my Windows 7 system, then restore it. When I restore my backup, I want to do a FULL restore--that is, if I created files on my desktop or installed software after the backup, they should be deleted when I restore my backup.

So far I've tried the built-in Windows backup and restore, as well as restore points. In both cases, files were still on my desktop that I created AFTER the backup/restore-point was created.

How do I do it?

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closed as off topic by MDMarra, John Gardeniers, Ward, Wesley, Khaled Jun 13 '12 at 12:17

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You'd want a full disk image. – Bigbio2002 Jun 12 '12 at 21:57
Easiest way to do this? Will I need third-party software? – Jay Sullivan Jun 12 '12 at 21:58
up vote 1 down vote accepted

There are third-party imaging tools, such as Acronis TrueImage, that can make an image backup for you. Windows Backup SHOULD also be able to make a full system backup for you. Perhaps the issue is how you're restoring it. According to this Microsoft site, You should be able to restore a backup from within Windows, or the boot menu. Just make sure that you're making a full system backup for yourself, and not just backing up your personal user files.

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Thanks for the term "full disk image", searching for this led me to the answer: restoring a full disk image is arguably hidden in the Windows Backup options. – Jay Sullivan Jun 12 '12 at 22:15
You can do a "full disk image" restore from a windows 7 boot disk and selecting repair. it will allow you to specify the backup location and allow you to restore the machine to its former start. Just keep in mind that if you try to swap hardware around, you will run into issues (like a smaller hard drive), and those issues will be difficult to resolve from within the repair restore utility – MikeAWood Jun 12 '12 at 23:39

If you want a full disk backup, I'd use a linux live disk and make a binary copy with the dd command.

Something less extreme might be Norton Ghost.

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+1 dd sounds like a simple solution, I may try that at some point – Jay Sullivan Jun 12 '12 at 22:16
The OP has already demonstrated an extreme lack of knowledge in this area, so how do you think he/she would cope with the command line? Suggesting *nix commands to a Windows person is seldom good advise, especially with so many point an click solutions available. – John Gardeniers Jun 12 '12 at 23:12
@JohnGardeniers the OP does say he knows what dd is in the comment above yours. – Lucas Kauffman Jun 13 '12 at 9:00
and the OP says he has linux experience in his profile + I gave him an alternative. – Lucas Kauffman Jun 13 '12 at 9:08
I'm not a Windows person ;) if I was I'd know how to do this. – Jay Sullivan Jul 6 '12 at 20:52

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