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Restore Your Custom-Built PC


Al from Jackson, NJ writes “When you buy a new laptop you are able to make DVD’s to restore to factory condition. If I build my PC or have and older laptop. Can I, if so How is that done?”

Hi, Al.  Thanks for the great question!

Most modern computers, instead of having you create restore discs, although that’s still an option, will give you a recovery partition instead.  Like this:


As far as creating recovery DVD’s for your old laptop goes, that will depend on whether or not the manufacturer offered that option.  Some do, some don’t.  I once had an HP computer that came with recovery discs, and a slot in the machine to hold them.

With your hand-made computer, there is no “factory” image to reload your computer to, since your machine wasn’t made in a factory.  Basically, once you make the machine, you’ll basically just load all of your software from discs that you have.

Now, the good news is that, once you create your machine, you can create your very own system image disc, which is the same thing.  It will allow you to restore your computer to its previous version.  The even better news is that the restore option has remained the same since Windows 7.

The easiest way to find this in Windows 7 and 8 is to go to the start menu and enter BACKUP in the search box.  In windows 10, you will go to the start menu and click SETTINGS and then enter BACKUP in the search box.


This will open your backup window, which looks like this:


Click on CREATE A SYSTEM IMAGE, highlighted in red on the above image.  You’ll now get an option of where to save your system image.


The next screen will give you the option of what you want to save.  Bear in mind that the more items that you choose, the larger your system image will be.  Follow the on-screen prompts to create your system image.  And remember to label the discs so that, if you ever do need to restore, it will be quick and easy for you.  Also, keep your image in a safe place.  And, as with all backups, I recommend that you make two copies, one to keep at your home and one to store off-site (I keep my second backup in a safe deposit box at the bank) just in case something catastrophic happens to your home.

I hope that this helps!

~ Randal Schaffer

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2 Responses to “Restore Your Custom-Built PC”

  1. Ernie White says:

    This is over my head….

  2. Barry says:

    I have had problem with this process – twice! If you can’t boot to Windows you can recover the OS and your documents, videos and pictures will remain but all programs that did not come with the original PC will be removed. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the recovery image is on a separate partition, USB stick or optical drive.

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