Creating a disk image of the operating system — making a “ghost” in the English-speaking world, means performing a complete backup of the partition hosting Windows. Previously, it was necessary to use paid software such as Norton Ghost. This era is now over with the arrival of Windows Seven.
N.B. : this article is valid for Ultimate and Business editions of Windows Seven. As stated in the comments, the Ultimate version of Seven is available for free, in English and in Ultimate version, which allows you to use these advanced backup functions. There is no link between Norton Ghost software and the process of creating Windows disk image. However, it is common to hear or read this expression of ‘doing a ghost’ in the computer world, for the essential reason that this commercial software remains a reference in this field.
Open the Control Panel then click on Save and restore. Beforehand, switch to display mode Icons via the drop-down list, located at the top right of the window.
In the left side column, click on Create a system image then wait a few moments, while the backup assistant appears.
Let’s now determine the destination location of your system backup. Several choices exist:
- On a hard drive : use another partition or external hard drive of sufficient size;
- On one or more DVDs : I advise against this method as it requires at least a dozen DVDs;
- On a network sharing : convenient to make a backup to a network server or other local computer;
Prefer solutions 1 and 3 but avoid the second one, very inconvenient unless you use Blu-ray discs. That said, I don't know if such technology is supported...
So check the appropriate box depending on your case, then click on Next.
We will now indicate the partitions to save. Since this is a system backup, the partition C:, which hosts Windows by default, is preselected. Free for you to add more partitions... provided your destination medium is sufficient in terms of storage space.
When you are ready, click on Next then, on the next screen, on Start Backup.
From there, take your pain in patience as a system backup takes several hours. It all depends on the size of the partitions to be saved as well as the media used. In a next tutorial, we'll see several ways to restore your PC from a ghost.