Difference between recovery disc a system image and backup

  gel 17:36 17 Aug 2012

Hello In simple terms could someone explain the difference between a recovery disc(which I created when I first had my lap top) a system image and a back up which I create every week. Would a system image be the same size as a recovery disc? Thank you very much gel

  Secret-Squirrel 18:05 17 Aug 2012

A PC manufacturer's recovery disk will only return the computer back to how it was when new.

A system (or disk) image is a complete copy of a hard disk partition. That image is contained in a single file. Providing that you imaged your system (usually C:) drive, it contains the boot files, operating system, programs and user data. If you run into problems that you can't fix, or your computer's been rendered unbootable, you can restore the image and your computer will revert back to how it was when the image was created.

A backup is usually a copy of important files such as documents, e-mails, photos, and music etc saved to an external hard drive, memory stick, or CD etc. An image file can sometimes be classed as a backup because it's usually possible to extract individual files and folders from it.

A system image is likely to be bigger than a recovery disk because it also contains all the extra programs you installed and also your data files.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 18:13 17 Aug 2012

"A PC manufacturer's recovery disk will only return the computer back to how it was when new."

and quite often relies on a system image on a hidden partition of the hard drive.

a system image will need a recovery program to restore it.

  Secret-Squirrel 18:22 17 Aug 2012

"and quite often relies on a system image on a hidden partition of the hard drive."

Once the recovery disks have been created, they don't rely on anything on the computer's hard drive. Those disks are important because they enable the user to do a factory restore when the original hard drive has been replaced. The OP has stated that he's created those disks.

  Secret-Squirrel 18:36 17 Aug 2012

gel, forgot to mention, if you don't yet have an imaging program, post back and I'm sure you'll get lots or recommendations for paid-for and free products.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 18:41 17 Aug 2012


Recovery discs which you create and manufactures recovery disks are two different things :0)

The PC manufactures CD recovery disk supplied with my Medion machine relies on the image on the recovery partition of the hard drive to restore the machine the manual warns not to interfere with partition size because of this.

The(one time only) disks (DVDs) that I created on my Toshiba laptop contains both the recovery program (ghost) and a set of images of the drive and as you say will restore to a new drive if necessary.

Hope we're not confusing gel too much :0)

  gel 19:22 17 Aug 2012

Thank you all very for your contributions When I first had the lap top there was a message which said there was not a recovery disc provided and I was advised to create one This I did and I have 5 dvd's My documents are installed on memory sticks so that I can access them for my lap top or desk top Each week I copy these docs to another memory stick. I am still not sure about the system image part of the question and would appreciate a further comment please if that is possible Thank you gel

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 19:59 17 Aug 2012

Have a read here

  Secret-Squirrel 08:18 18 Aug 2012

"This I did and I have 5 dvd's"

Your recovery-disk set can also be considered a system image as it contains a perfect clone of a hard drive that was created by the manufacturer.

System images are also created by users who want to the ability to restore their PCs quickly and easily in case of catastrophic failure. Acronis® True Image™ Home is one popular program that you can use for this task. The program creates an image file that is saved to an external hard drive. If no large hard drive is available then DVDs can be used but then the image is saved to multiple files spanning several disks.

  gel 15:48 18 Aug 2012

Thank you very much .I now understand and from Secret-Squirrel contributions it seems I also have a system image But I am grateful for all the contributions Thank you gel

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

iMac Pro review

Illustrator Charles Williams on how to create magazines and book covers

iMac Pro review

Les meilleures prises CPL (2018)