tech tips for writers / writing

End-of-year Tech Tips: Image Your Computer

This week, I’m providing tips for end-of-year technology maintenance. Sure, you should do it once a month if you’re active on your computer, but AT LEAST do it yearly.

Like today.

Tech Tips for Writers is an occasional post on overcoming Tech Dread. I cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment. I’ll cover your Tech Dread in a future Tip.

Q: I hate reformatting my computer. I lose all the extras I added (like Jing) I forget which software I have on there (sure, I remember MS Office, but what about Google Earth? Celestia?) And then there are all the personalizations 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 on a terabyte external drive. 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 select a drive with sufficient space and start. Be forewarned: If you have a lot of data, it takes a while. You can work on your computer while it’s backing up; it’ll just be slower.

A note: This is the same location you’ll go to restore from back-up if you have a problem.



Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, a freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a monthly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is  editor of a K-8 technology curriculum and technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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4 thoughts on “End-of-year Tech Tips: Image Your Computer

  1. Glad you’ve got our “back” Jacqui. Just finished launching my Time Machine. Something I keep hearing about is Dropbox. Don’t know if anyone uses this but I hear it’s a great way to store files you can access from any computer (and it’s free). Similar to Google Drive but I’m not sure about the pro cons of either. I wish I was more of a tech geek!

    • Yes–lots of Dropbox fans. I use Carbonite (for a fee). I can access files anywhere with a log-in. No size limit (Dropbox is 2GB–Google Docs is 20 GB)–which is a big deal to me. I have tons of writing files.

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