Two file system locations must be included in the system image—what Microsoft refers to as the boot partition and the system partition. The boot partition is always C:\, whereas the system partition is the drive with the Windows 7 Windows directory. This is typically C:, but if you installed Windows 7 in a dual-boot setup with a previous Windows version, the system partition might be in a different location. If you have other drives or partitions, you can optionally choose to include them in the system image as well.

As the image is created, Windows Backup will provide an ongoing progress indicator, as shown in Figure 24-18.

Figure 24-18: Though complete PC backups are huge, they are compressed and therefore much smaller than the actual disk to which you are backing up.

This process could take some time, especially on a heavily used PC. When it's done, Windows Backup will prompt you to create a system repair disc (see Figure 24-19). You should do so: While Windows 7 does install recovery files directly into the boot partition, in some instances, these files will not boot the PC. If that happens, you can use the system repair disc to boot your PC, a requirement for restoring the entire PC with the system image (as you'll see in the next section).

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Figure 24-19: If you don't have one already, be sure to create a system repair disc.

You can use any writeable CD or DVD for a system repair disc.


If you have both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 on different PCs, you cannot use the same system repair disc for each. Instead, you must create separate system repair discs for 32-bit and 64-bit systems.

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