How to Create a Windows 10 Image Backup of your HTPC Media Centre


A HTPC media centre is not something you can build over night. Once you have assembled your hardware the software setup can take months and you find yourself continually adding to it. You must install your operating system, device drivers, HTPC software, plugins, media collection artwork etc. The list is endless. One of the most demoralising scenarios is when you make a change to your media centre which damages your system and a complete reinstall is required! You were making what your thought was a simple change and you end up losing all of the hard work you have put in. Its time to create Windows 10 image backup files.

There is also the issue of disk failure. Should your system disk fail then your media centre is lost. The solution to this is to create an system image backup at regular intervals so if the worst occurs you can restore your system in a matter of minutes. You can use a [easyazon_link identifier=”B00Y0R94PQ” locale=”UK” tag=”racirhyt-21″]HDD[/easyazon_link], DVD or backup windows 10 to [easyazon_link identifier=”B00LLEODCK” locale=”UK” tag=”racirhyt-21″]USB drive[/easyazon_link]. If you want to install a new set of Kodi plugins then take an image backup of your system first and if there are any issues or you simply do not like the plugins you can role back.

Create Windows 10 Image Backup of your HTPC Media Centre

Windows 10 makes it extremely simple to create an image backup of your system and gone are the days when third party software applications are required. The application to create an image backup comes with Windows 10 as standard and all you require is a location to place your system image. You have the option to save the image on USB media, a network drive or burn to a series of DVDs or Blu-ray disks. By far the most convenient option and most cost effective is to backup windows 10 to [easyazon_link identifier=”B00BX5FOCK” locale=”UK” tag=”racirhyt-21″]USB sick[/easyazon_link] or hard drive and that is what we will be using for this guide.

Create an Image Backup in Windows 10 – Windows 10 Backup & Restore

1. The first step to create Windows 10 image backup is to find a device to save the image on. Ensure that you have a USB hard drive to store your Windows image backup on or backup windows 10 to USB stick. Connect the drive to your HTPC media centre. Exit any HTPC software that you may be running and on the right of your start button type the word “Backup” in the Cortana search box. You will be presented with the options shown in the image. Select “Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Backup and Restore Windows 10
Run Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

2.  You will now be in the Backup and Restore application. Select the Create a system image option on the left hand side of the screen. At this stage you may be prompted to enter administrator credentials if you are not already logged in as one.

Create Windows 10 Image Backup
Create System Image -Windows 10

3. The next screen will ask you to specify a location to store your system image. There are three options here, on a hard disk, on one or more DVDs or on a network location. For this guide we are going to use a USB hard drive so select the option On a hard drive and choose your USB hard drive from the adjacent drop down menu. It is possible to create a Windows 10 backup disk on a single Blu-ray if you have a writer and media but if you want to make regular backups then stick with the USB HDD. [Read: Gaming on your HTPC]

Best Storage Devices for you to Create Windows 10 Image Backup files on

Backup windows 10 to USB for the most cost effective solution.

[easyazon_table attributes=”EAN,Size” identifiers=”B00DQG9OZ2,B00D0L5BH8,B01LY61PPY,B00UNA1OBQ,B00FOKN7D8″ locale=”UK” orientation=”at” tag=”racirhyt-21″ text=”SanDisk Ultra 32 GB USB Flash Drive USB 3.0|WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive|Seagate BarraCuda 4 TB 3.5 inch Internal Hard Drive|Seagate Expansion 4 TB 3.5 External Hard Drive |WD 4TB My Cloud Personal NAS Drive”]

Image Backup Storage
Windows 10 Image Backup Location

4. The next screen asks you which drives on your media centre you would like to backup. You can backup the entire system but I would recommend that you store your media collections on a separate drive to your operating system and back these up independently. Media collections tend to be huge and will drastically increase the image size and the time needed to restore. By having your media collections on an independent drive and making an image backup of your system drive only you can quickly restore your media centre to revert any configuration mistakes. Select all drives apart from your media collection drive and click on Start Backup. Backup windows 10 to USB drives is the best option. [Read: Best Motherboard for Gaming]

Windows 10 System Backup
Confirm Image Backup Settings

Create a Windows 10 System Repair Disc

4. The backup process will now begin and may take some time to complete. An average Windows 10 backup size is around 32GB. On completion you will be asked if you would like to create a System Repair Disk. This is a bootable disk that will allow you to restore your system from an image. You only need to do this once and not every time you take a backup so if this is your first backup insert a writeable DVD and select yes, or no if you already have one. [Read: How to Autologon Windows 10]

Windows 10 Restore DVD
Create Windows 10 Repair Disc

5. If you selected yes, choose your DVD writer from the dropdown list and select Create Disk.

backup windows 10 to USB
Windows 10 System Restore Disc

Once this is complete you now have a system image on your USB hard drive stored under the folder \\WindowsImageBackup and a System Repair Disk (DVD). [Read: How to Make Windows 10 Boot Even Faster]

Restore Your HTPC Media Centre – Windows 10 Image Deployment

Restoring your HTPC media centre from the image you have created is simple. Restart your media centre with your the System Repair Disk you created inserted and your USB HDD connected and boot to your DVD drive.

  1. Choose Your Keyboard Layout – The first screen asks you to select your country’s keyboard layout. The mouse is usable at this point so choose your country from the available options.
  2. Choose An Option – On this screen select “Use a device”
  3. Use a Device – On this screen click on your USB hard drive.

That’s it you’re all done! Your media centre will now reboot and start to rebuild from your image. When building a media centre it is good practice to perform and image backup at regular intervals giving you the ability to roll back changes quickly and easily. Create Windows 10 image backup files to save you hours in rebuild time if your system fails!