imaging

Create a Disk Image in Windows

One of the best ways to make a backup of your drive is to create a "disk image." This will essentially take a snapshot of the drive and make it bootable so you can restore your PC to that moment in time if your drive crashes. There are a number of third-party tools that you can use to do this, but Microsoft actually has included the ability to create a disk image right within Windows. Here's how to get to it:

Can I run Windows on a thumb drive?

Episode 1457

Richard from Spring Hill, FL
USB thumb drive

Richard wants to know if he can run Windows off a thumb drive for security. Leo says that's a smart idea and it's not uncommon for Linux users. He should just understand that it will be slower. But it will enable him to simply reboot if something goes wrong. Leo recommends using a disk imaging command to make a disk image onto his thumb drive and then he can just blast it back on when it goes wrong. He can even make it bootable.

Is there a computer that doesn't come with adware?

Lincoln from Palm Springs, CA

Episode 1438

Lincoln wants to know if there's a computer he can buy that doesn't come with any trialware? Leo says that most computer companies do this to offset the cost of manufacturing them. Even Microsoft will bundle trialware in the install. Leo advises uninstalling all that stuff from the very beginning. Leo says that Microsoft is edging towards putting advertising in the OS through popups, and that's a bad thing. So Lincoln should get rid of it all, and install only the programs he always uses, then create a stock Windows install by making an image copy that he can boot up to just in case.

How can I image a hard drive to a large thumb drive?

Episode 1435

Mike from Norwich, CT
DriveImage XML

Mike has a 1 TB thumb drive that shows up as a 2 TB drive. Leo says it could have been mislabeled. He should look in his disk management console. He can get there by right clicking on the Start menu, and selecting disk management. It will give him a more accurate indication of the size. If it's 2TB, then it was mislabeled. Also, since Mike bought it off eBay, it's something to be careful with. Can he use it to copy another hard drive? Leo says sure. He should try DriveImage XML to do it.

Can I make an image backup of my mobile phone?

Episode 1429

Bob from Philadelphia, PA
Helium Backup

Bob has a dual SIM mobile phone with T-Mobile and he's having trouble going from one number to the other. He couldn't receive calls. He's tried to go to T-Mobile and has also done the factory reset and now he can get calls. But he's lost all his data. Can he get it back? Leo says the safest way to protect his data is to backup his data to his Google account. He can do this by going to "Backup and Reset" in settings. Then he could automatically restore it. This would save his settings, apps, and contacts, but it won't save his music or photos.

What's the best backup for a home business?

Stuart from Beverly Hills, CA

Episode 1399

Stuart has a home business and wants to know the best backup option for him. Leo says that Windows 10 has backup software built in and it works well, but he's not thrilled with the backup being in a big blob of a file that he'd have to unfurl to see. Another option is to make a disc image that he can restore instantly. Imaging options include:

What is the best way to set up my new computer?

Episode 1398

Rob from Lake Forest, CA
Laptop hard drive

Erick is having issues with his Dell laptop batteries swelling and causing a bulge in his laptop. So Dell replaced not only the battery, but the entire laptop. Could it happen again? Leo says that all manufacturers have had issues with swelling batteries, but it's unlikely that it will happen again. If it does, it's in their interest to replace it because after swelling of a battery comes catching fire and explosions.

Can I backup my computer by creating an image?

Don from Montana

Episode 1347

Don wants to know if imaging is the way he should be backing up. Leo says that imaging is good for creating a version of his computer that is frozen in time, so he can just reload it. After that, he should be making incremental backups of his data. Leo advises three backups, on two different formats, with one off site. And if he has versioning, that's even better.