I used to work with Norton Ghost software to create a system image in Windows XP. But the defaultWindows 7 utility works just as well. Below is the procedure to easily create a backup image for your Windows Vista and Windows 7. Once an image is created, you can use it to restore your system state to be exactly like it was when you backed up your system.
I normally create a backup when I have important files and all the necessary software installed on my C Drive. I then save the backup to another partition (e.g. E Drive) and in case something goes wrong like a virus infection or severe system issue. I select the E Drive Image to restore my C Drive to the old state.
Here are somevideos to walk you through the process to backup and restore Windows 7 and Windows Vista, followed by some screenshots by me to elaborate further on the process.
Windows 7 Tutorial – How To Create a Backup System Image
Windows Vista Complete PC Backup
Select Create System Image or click the Backup button on the right hand side menu.
Choose a Drive to backup your system . Make sure that the path you are saving the backup has lots of space. You can save the backup image to an external drive, local partition (e.g. E Drive) , CD, DVD or network path. Click Next to continue.
This will start backing up your system. It is always wise to keep a backup of your C Drive when all required software are installed to avoid having to reinstall the system. The image can be quite heavy so a DVD or a number of DVDs may not have enough space to store it.
In case something goes wrong, or you wish to revert back to your saved image. Click on the Restore option from Backup And Restore and follow the simple steps. You would mainly require selecting the saved image from the path it is saved on and restoring it to your desired drive (e.g. C Drive). You can also restore your files by booting the Windows DVD and select the Backup option instead of a re-install (as shown in the video).