How to restore a Windows 10 system image to an existing or larger storage device

Technical Level : Intermediate

Summary

Since Windows Vista Microsoft included a system imaging utility that makes it easy to backup your entire computer, which you can then use to restore in case of system failure, move to a larger hard disk or simply to have a working state of your computer just in case. As noted, a system image is an exact replica of your hard disk, down to the partition layout. Depending on how large your Windows 10 installation is, it can use a lot of space, so you should invest in an external USB hard disk with a lot of space. In this article, we take a look restoring the system image on a larger hard disk. This makes it quite convenient if you somehow outgrow your current storage allotment.


Details

First, check out the following article how to create a system image here.

Once you have your backup ready, you can proceed to shutdown the system, install your hard disk or restart and boot from the recovery drive or Windows 10 bootable media. If you don’t bootable Windows 10 media, see the following article for instructions:

How to download official Windows 10 ISO files

To learn how to change your BIOS options to boot from the DVD drive, see the following tutorial:

http://notebooks.com/2011/05/05/how-to-load-bios-and-change-boot-configuration/

Once your computer is set to boot from the DVD, you should see this option.

If you are installing from a thumb drive, see the following instructions how to prepare your computer to boot from one:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-NZ/windows7/Start-your-computer-from-a-Windows-7-installation-disc-or-USB-flash-drive

The Windows logo will appear on screen, this might be here for a while, as long as you see the indicater, everything should be ok.

Click Next

Click Repair your computer

Click Troubleshoot

Click System Image Recovery

Make sure your external hard disk where the system image is located is connected and turned on.

System Image will select the latest system image, if you would rather restore another image, select the Select a system image radio box and click Next and follow the on screen instructions to select an available system image.

System Image will format and repartition your hard disk, if you have partitions or other attached storage you would to exclude, click the Exclude disks... button and do so then click Next

Click Finish to begin

One final warning before the restoration begins. Click Yes to continue.

Wait wait while the restoration takes place. This can take some time.

When complete, your computer will restart automatically or you can do so right away.

Reclaim unallocated disk space if necessary

If you restorage a system image on a hard disk or SSD that is larger than the one it replaced, then you will have unallocated disk space to reclaim because the system image restored according to its known partition layout.

Press Windows key + X or right click the Start button and click Disk Management

You will notice there is a unallocated partition, this is what you need to reclaim. To do so, right click the Local disk where Windows 10 is installed, usually C:\ and click Extend Volume...

Click Next

Click Next (make sure the unallocated partition is actually selected).

Click Finish , you should now see a single disk partition for your Local disk in Disk Management with reclaimed space.

Related:

 

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Last updated December 15, 2019 Views 143,549 Applies to:

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That is all fine and wonderful, but my image restored with a 450MB recovery partition between my primary partition and my unallocated space.  The option to extend my system volume and reclaim the extra 118 GB of space in my larger drive is not available.  Any ideas how to fix this?

Yes, Metalman007, this is one of the MANY problems with Windows 10!  If you have since found a solution please post it...I for one would really appreciate it.  I always seem to forget this deficiency in Win 10 (worked find in 7 and I believe 8) until I go to upgrade to a larger drive.  I ran into it in the pre-release version and I foolishly thought Microsoft might actually address the issue but alas they did not.  Even if you install to a drive and make C only part of the total drive it still puts the recovery partition at the end of C so you can't even expand on the same disk thanks to that very poor design logic.

If u select exclude partitions would u be able to exclude all exept for the partition where the default os is installed? (Usualy C) or can u only exlude certail drives, and is it possible to make a system backup of a certain drive only (eg of only windows os drive and exclude all other partitions from ur image)

There is no option to exclude partitions unfortunately.
Silly me.  My little HTPC only has room for one laptop drive, 500GB.  Filled it up with my iTunes folder so I installed a 1TB drive.  Did the above only to discover there's no way to extend C: because its bracketed by System Reserve and the Recovery partition! The unallocated space is the same size as the C: drive that's too small!  is there no way around this?  Recovery doesn't let you resize or skip partitions before the restore.

Ah yes,

I was reading along and thinking "didn't I already try this and was unable to expand/extend my partition?".

I was eventually able to reformat my new larger drive (1 TB) by using diskpart to delete partitions. I was about to have another go at transferring my full 500 GB drive to the 1 TB using Acronis with both drives plugged into SATA ports on a desktop. Unfortunately, I let chkdisk run on the 500 GB and it is basically ruined now with "file or directory is corrupted or unavailable". 

I'm hoping I still have the image file.

very easy.

install MiniTool Partition Wizard  

delete the recovery partition,

then merge all the partitions to system partition

Hi everybody!

 

Just to start I have to say that I’m a deprived widower of Rescue & Recovery, the wonderful former IBM (then until Windows 7, Lenovo) program that saved me a lot of times with its incremental backup/restore functions.

   Now, in Windows 10 that program is no more supported, and I asked many time for a valid substitute. Microsoft and also Lenovo, answered that the need of R&R is completely overcome by the standard Windows 10 Backup and restore functions.

   Thus I used the standard functions making regularly both system images and file backups.

   Then all OK?

   Unfortunately not!

   The first time I needed a restore because of a Hard Drive Crash, I started the image restore with the last copy available. The re-imaging started perfectly and I started breathing regularly, while the restore went up for about one hour and a half.

   But unfortunately I discovered at the end of the restore that it was unsuccessful due to an incorrect parameter; error 0x80070057; no other comment from the procedure.

   There are many advices on the InterNet, quite common among the users, none of them worked. Luckily informatics is my job and after a week I solved, but a “normal” user?

   Now a backup/restore like that is as a parachute full of holes, or a lifebuoy made of lead. Horrid!

   I’ll look for something better, like Acronis AOMEI or something else, but Microsoft can be charged for refunds, being responsible of such a disgusting functionality.

   Waiting anxiously for some answer and advice…

   Yours

 

   Dr. Ing. Alberto Maria Marchetti

 

 

 

I agree  with  you completely, After trying many methods to restore my computer from a system image, I too had to buy programs like Laplink And Aomei to be able to backup and restore my computer.  Microsoft has not given any updates to solve this problem.  Quote ( Microsoft can be charged for refunds, being responsible of such a disgusting functionality.)

Leslie Callapp

That is all fine and wonderful, but my image restored with a 450MB recovery partition between my primary partition and my unallocated space.  The option to extend my system volume and reclaim the extra 118 GB of space in my larger drive is not available.  Any ideas how to fix this?

To move partitions arround I use free OpenSource GParted https://gparted.org/livecd.php

You download the .iso file and burn it on a CD or see documentation to get it bootable on a USB drive.

Once you boot with it, you have a old fashion graphic interface to play arround with your partitions.

Select the physical drive on upper right corner.

Then ensure you have the partition selected and go on the menu "Partition" "Resize->Move".

Put 0 at "Free Space Preceeding"

Hold 9 until filled at "New size" (going out of that edit box will just put the maximum size).

Click apply and enjoy

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