CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again


How to create a full system backup in Windows 10

It's an oldie but goodie: Creating a system image of your Windows 10 PC in case your hard drive goes belly up and you need to recover your files, settings and apps.

Matt Elliott/CNET

It's been around since Windows 7 ($396.29 at, and Microsoft hasn't touched it since. You won't find it in the Settings app where you likely first turn when you need to perform a bit of system maintenance on your PC. Instead, it's hiding out in the the old Windows Control Panel. What it is is the ability to create a full system backup, which you can use to restore your PC should it fail, become corrupted or otherwise stop operating smoothly.

Because the tool to create a system image is somewhat buried in Windows 10 ($92.99 at, let's shine a light on where it's located and how to use it.

Steps to create a backup system image

1. Open the Control Panel (easiest way is to search for it or ask Cortana).

2. Click System and Security

3. Click Backup and Restore (Windows 7)


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

4. Click Create a system image in the left panel

5. You have options for where you want to save the backup image: external hard drive or DVDs. I suggest the former, even if your computer has a DVD-RW drive, so connect your external drive to your PC, select On a hard disk and click Next.


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

6. Click the Start backup button.


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

After the system image is created, you'll be asked if you want to create a system repair disc. This puts your image on a CD or DVD, which you can use to access the system image you created if your PC won't boot. Don't worry if your laptop doesn't have a CD or DVD drive; you can skip this step and boot the system from the system image on your external hard drive.

How to recover your PC using your system image

To use your system image to restore your PC, open the Settings app and go to Update & Security > Recovery. In the Advanced startup section, click the Restart now button. When your PC restarts, go to Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > System Image Recovery and follow the instructions to restore your PC using your the system image you created.