What’s The Difference Between Backups and System Images?
Backups and system images were created for very different purposes and are not an interchangeable service. You’ll need one of them if you lose a particular document and the other if you lose access to your hard drive altogether and both are very valuable additions to your digital repertoire.
What Is A System Image?
A system image is a function that was originally designed to create a perfect copy of your hard drive and pack it all together in one huge file. That file can then be stored on a second data storage device that’s big enough to hold it. It contains absolutely everything on your hard drive, included every program you have installed and every file you’ve used those programs to create and work on.
What can this be used for? If you find yourself in a situation where a virus has wiped out your hard drive or you’ve damaged it during transit – or even if you’ve lost all access to it altogether through the actions of thieves or vandals – you can use your system image to save the day. You need only install that system image onto a new hard drive and you’ll be back up and running immediately. You won’t need to reinstall your programs or restore your data files, simply release them back exactly as they were from the system restore. It can be done directly through your Windows operating system.
What Is A Backup?
A backup, on the other hand, copies individual files from your hard drive, such as your spreadsheets, presentations, databases, music, movies and written documents. You can select which files you want to back up and store them in a separate place to the originals. If you experience a problem with an individual file or folder, such as accidentally deleting or overwriting it or discovering it to be corrupt or infected by a virus, you can find the stored version on your backup and replace the damaged copy with a clean one.
It’s a useful tool when you discover single, small problems and much quicker to restore them, but it will not reinstall your programs for you or restore your hard disk to its original state. The best way to go about backing up your documents is through an online storage system, which will do all the hard work for you automatically and keep your data safe far away from the originals. Our experts have investigated the available services at great length and compiled their thoughts on which are the most reliable, secure and easy to use. We’ve included their findings for you below: