As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!
Q: I hate reformatting my computer. I lose all the extras I’ve added (like Jing) I forget which software I have on their (sure, I remember MS Office, but what about Google Earth? Celestia?) And then there are all the personalizations I’ve put on 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 terrabyte 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’ll 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 editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s working on a techno-thriller that should be ready this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.