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I got a simple question that I unfortunately can't find a simple answer for anywhere. This is the scenario: I made a System Image of my Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit PC on an external HDD. I've also created a Windows System Repair Disc of the same PC.

Now, what I want to know is this: if I were to replace my internal HDD with a blank one, would I be able to use the System Repair Disc to restore my entire hard drive, OS and all, from the System Image? I understand that this can be done with a Windows Installation Disc, but since Windows was pre-installed, I don't have that. By the way, I just want to know if this is possible, steps aren't necessary (although they can't hurt).

The new HDD would be bigger than the old one, and the PC in question is a laptop with reasonably powerful specs. The terms I've used above are exactly what I mean, I do mean a Repair Disc and not a Recovery Disc.

If you need any more details please say so.

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How'd you make the image? – Raystafarian Feb 29 '12 at 20:24
Just using Windows 7. Control Panel -> System and Security -> Backup and Restore -> Create a system image. – puggsoy Mar 1 '12 at 16:34
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Yes you can, boot from the System repair disc, it has all the same tools as a regular install disc.

Windows Image restore does have limitations, it will not restore to a smaller hard drive, but will to one the same size or larger.

You are best to do a trial run of image restore on the new drive before you wipe the old drive.

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The reason that I'm doing this is because the old one is randomly failing, so I can't truly do a test run. But yeah, I will keep the old one in case it doesn't work. – puggsoy Mar 2 '12 at 13:51

Yes, the Windows Repair disk has recovery software on. Here's a microsoft page showing that. Click on the link about starting from a repair disk to expand that section. Its been said that a backup always works but a recovery is what can fail. So doing this as a test run is a good idea.

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Just try and boot from your system repair disc. It is likely that the image will be able to be cloned back. However it is also possible that your Windows might get deactivated when it detects hardware changes in your computer.

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