How to restore an entire PC in under 40 minutes: use cloning

Clone your PC for Quick Restores

There are many ways to back up a PC, and therefore many ways to restore one as well. What you have to understand is the differences between them. In this article I will go over some ways to back up your data, and the quickest ways to restore an entire PC or a single file.

The File and Folder Backup

This type of backup is probably the most common. Users use either a local hard drive or thumb drive to save some data files and folder. The trend is moving to online backups, whereby your files and folders are stored in the cloud and you can retrieve them if your location has been hit by a disaster.

Pros: Quick and simple. Just designate what files/folders you need to back up and move them to the storage location; either local or off-site. Most online backups do this automatically once you set it up and you don’t really need to monitor it.

Cons: If your entire hard drive crashes your restore process becomes lengthy and you may be down for a while. The process is:

  1. Reinstall the Operating System or OS (1-2 hours)
  2. Reinstall all the updates and patches (1-2 hours)
  3. Reinstall all applications (Word, Adobe Reader, Firefox etc). (1 hour)
  4. Configure your PC, email, printers, devices and passwords. (1 hour)
  5. Start the restore process. (Depends on storage size. 1GB = 20 minutes in restore time.)

The Image Based Backup

With this type of backup you make an image or ‘clone’ of your entire system. You backup up everything in steps 1-5 above saving you vast amounts of time. If you need 1 file back you can restore that. If you need an entire PC restored you can do that as well.

Pros: Restore an entire PC or server in under 40 minutes (depends on size). The process is:

  1. Start the restore process.

Cons: More difficult to set up. You need a dedicated storage area to hold the ‘images’ – like an external hard drive. If your location/office is destroyed likely the images stored there are gone as well unless you store your images offsite.

Restoring an Entire PC

The process is relatively straightforward if you have the image based solution set up (which is of course the whole point of this). With our system we handle the entire process from start to finish. Otherwise you can set up an image based backup yourself.

The process starts usually with booting the PC, laptop or server into a ‘restore environment’. From there you simply point the restore to the image file you want. The sytem will than overwrite the hard drive with the backed up image file. Reboot the machine and you are good to go. Usually in under 40 minutes.

Any questions let me know!

Thanks for reading,


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