Restore A System Image Using A System Restore Disk - Page 1 of 3


A System Repair Disk can be used to:
  • Startup Repair: Repair a computer that will not start/boot. A good first step.
  • System Restore: Restore Windows to an earlier point in time. Read my tutorial "How To Use System Restore" for more information.
  • System Image Recovery: Use to restore a drive/system image to your computer. Works well to solve many computer problems. See my tutorial "How To Create A Drive or System Image".
  • Windows Memory Diagnostic: Use to diagnose problems with the system memory (RAM) of your computer. Symptoms of faulty/damaged RAM include intermittent data errors, reboots/starts, error (blue) screens, slower than usual performance.
  • Command Prompt: Use this if you are comfortable typing computer commands.

In this tutorial we will use the Windows "System Repair Disk" to restore a "drive/system image" to a computer. Not sure what a system/drive image is or how it can help you in a computer emergency? Read my tutorial "How To Create A Drive or System Image".

Backup any files that are important to you BEFORE you reimage/restore your computers drive using the "Windows System Repair Disk." The drive image restore process deletes all existing files on the drives that are restored with your drive image.

The drive image you want to restore must be stored at the "root" or top most folder of a drive where it is stored. If it is not stored at the root of the drive the Windows System Repair Disk will NOT be able to find it.

To restore your computer using a drive image you must boot/start your computer using the system repair disk. A computer must be configured to boot/start from a CD or DVD. Some manufacturers ship/sell their computers pre configured to boot from a CD/DVD. How do you know if your computer will boot/start from a CD/DVD? Simple, try to boot/start your computer using the system repair disk.

To boot/start your computer using the system repair disk:
  1. Insert your system repair disk into your optical (CD/DVD) drive.
  2. Restart your computer.
  3. Press a key on your keyboard when you see the message "Press any key to boot from CD or DVD"
press any key to boot from CD or DVD

As soon as you see this message (see image above) immediately press any key on your computer's keyboard. I usually use the space bar. You only have a couple of seconds to press a key. If you are late the computer will boot/start as it normally does. You will have to repeat steps 2 and 3 listed above.

If your computer can boot from the system restore disk you should see a message on your computer screen that tells you "Windows is loading files..." . See the image below. You should see this message within 30 to 60 seconds.

boot the windows system restore disk

If you DO NOT see the screen telling you "windows is loading files" it is likely your computer is NOT configured to boot from a CD/DVD. If your computer DOES NOT boot from the Windows System Restore Disk you can read my tutorial How To Boot-Start A Computer From CD, DVD or USB for additional help.

Once you see the "System Recovery Options" dialog (see image below):
  1. Connect and turn on your portable USB drive if your drive/system image is stored on one.
  2. Choose your preferred language and keyboard layout.
  3. Click the "Next >" button.
system recovery options dialog

The System Restore Disk will search to find the version of Windows you have installed on your computer.

select-system recovery options dialog

  • Choose the option "Restore your computer using a system image that your created earlier."
  • Click the "Next >" button. (see image below)

system recovery options dialog choose a recovery tool dialog

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