Computer terms can be very confusing and this is why we need to explain the difference between a system image and a system repair disc. Of course there are more definitions and terms that are also very similar so this is where the confusion starts.
What is a System Image?
A system image is like taking a photo of your hard drive and its entire contents. This means every file and every program you have on your computer. So if you think of this as a photo, just remember that photos become out of date.. A photo might have been taken a year ago, but a lot can change in a year. On your computer you continually add files and programs but the system image you created a year ago would only be the exact copy of what you had on your computer at the time of creating the image.
The best thing about creating a system image is that if you do use it to restore your computer you will not have to install drivers and other programs because they will all be included in the system image.
Back in the old days I used to have Norton Ghost to create a system image. This was fantastic when I had 100 of the same computers to format and get ready to sell. I simply created a system image of the first computer with all the necessary drivers and programs I needed and then used that disc to setup all the others. Nowadays Windows Vista and Windows Seven both let you create a system image.
What is a System Repair Disc?
A system repair disc is a disc that you can create that contains various Windows tools to help you repair computer problems. The system repair disc is used to access your computer when you are having problems. When the repair disc starts you are offered a menu of options to help you restore your computer to working order.
You will need a repair disc in order to restore from a system image too, so a repair disc is vitally important. When you insert a system repair disc you will see an option to restore your computer from a system image you prepared earlier. But that’s not all a system repair disc does!
A System repair disc can repair start up problems, give you access to system restore, let you restore and image, diagnose memory problems, and even give you access to command prompt.
What is a System Recovery Disc?
Oh no here is another confusing term. Yes this is a system “recovery” disc, not repair. This disc usually comes with your new pc or laptop and is most likely branded the same as your system. For example if you have a Dell computer the recovery disc will be a Dell Windows Seven recovery disc. This disc does not repair your computer and it does not replace an exact image back on to your computer. This recovery disc resets your computer or wipes it back to factory settings. It is pretty much the same as formatting a hard drive. Everything is clean and new and any files you had on the computer will be gone.
When your computer won’t start, the system repair disc is a great first option because it has tools to try that will not harm your files. For example there is a start up repair option. If you choose to restore your computer from a system image, just remember that the recent image of your computer will be gone. The copy of the system image you created will be on your computer. Therefore if you made the system image a year ago then the image will not have your recent files on it. This is why a system image and a recent backup of files and folders is a great idea.
Please note that if your computer came with an original Windows operating system disc, the repair options are also on there.