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I'm planning on performing a clean installation of Windows 10 Pro, and am planning on creating a system image to use to recover all my data after the installation. My question is, will the recovery of the system image bring back my computer to the exact current state it is while I'm typing this, and will it affect the fresh Windows 10 Pro installation?

Thanks.

  • Creating a System Image via the Windows GUI, or 3rd party software, is not an efficient way to do so. Use DISM to capture a WIM from WinRE (Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Advanced Startup - Reboot now > Troubleshoot > Advanced > Command Prompt), using the information in this answer, skipping the Configure Partitions section. It's recommended to capture a WIM monthly, appending it to the original WIM, relying on daily System Restore points between WIMs. – JW0914 Apr 27 at 11:41
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A system image is simply your system disk as when it was created.

will the recovery of the system image bring back my computer to the exact current state

Yes, restoring the image will return the system, meaning disk and its contents, including Windows and user data, to its exact state as when it was taken.

will it affect the fresh Windows 10 Pro installation?

There will be no fresh Windows installation. Restoring the image will return the old installation and old user data. Everything done after the image was created will be lost.

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  • So it will be reverted to Windows 10 Home (my current installation of Windows)? – Virtuality Apr 27 at 11:21
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    Yes. I suggest not using Windows utilities to create the image. Use a third-party utility such as AOMEI Backupper Freeware, and also create its boot CD/USB, just in case. Test the boot media before doing drastic modifications. I usually take an image backup, for example before installing major Windows updates. – harrymc Apr 27 at 11:24
  • Ok, thanks. I think that's answered my question. – Virtuality Apr 27 at 11:26
  • @harrymc While GUI tools like AOMEI may be more convenient, the most efficient way to backup Windows is using DISM to capture, or append to, a WIM. AFAIK, there is no other method that utilizes a better compression algorithm, coupled with an incorruptible backup image (it's impossible for a WIM to become corrupted provided /CheckIntegrity and /Verify are always used) and the intelligent way in which WIMs store data. – JW0914 Apr 27 at 11:53
  • @JW0914: It's a bit more complicated to restore a DISM backup if the computer doesn't boot. Even if it boots, restoring the system disk is not simple. In addition, DISM is file-oriented, not disk-oriented, so may encounter problems that don't exist for brutal raw imaging. – harrymc Apr 27 at 12:05

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