By Lily / Last update October 24, 2022

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Why do you want to image your desktop?

Whether you are currently using desktop or laptop, you will encounter many potential computer issues, such as, system crashes, hard disk collapse, virus attack, or other unexpected errors. And they will cause you a lot of trouble unless you have a system image or disk image created in advance. This is one of the most important reasons why you need to image your desktop.

In addition, you can use a desktop image for deployment, and it can be used on any computer with similar or the same hardware, which will save you a lot of time and energy and minimize the damage of data loss.

Well then, you may wander what is the best free disk imaging software for Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista? You can get clear ideas in the next part.

What is the best free disk imaging software for Windows?

Speaking of imaging software for Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP, you may want the best one, which can not only help you protect system and data continously, but also make this task simple and efficient. Here I'll introduce you the built-in backup software - Backup and Restore or Backup and Restore(Windows 7), and 3rd party software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. You can choose one of them according to your needs and use it to image OS or disk.

The buil-in tool is first introduced in Windows 7 and inherited in future systems, which is mainly used to create a system image for your computer and the process can be automatic per day/weekly/monthly. And it allows you to select other partitions on this disk manually during the backup process. Also, it is capable of creating a system repair disc to boot computer when it refuses to boot, which requires a CD/DVD disc. 

AOMEI Backupper Standard is a backup software for all Windows system, including Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista, you can directly use it to backup system/disk/partition/files as you like. Also, you can schedule backup in daily/weekly/monthly, backup only changes with incremental or differential backup, compress backup with normal or high compression level etc. And it is able to create a bootable media (USB or CD/DVD) that can be used in all Windows systems. 

How to image your desktop with built-in Backup and Restore

Imaging your desktop is an exactly backup for your computer’s hard drive. How to do it? You can use the Windows built-in tool -Backup and Restore or Backup and Restore(Windows 7). Please note that the interface and operation may be a little difference in different system, just use the following steps as reference only. 

Here will take Backup and Restore in Windows 7 as an example to show you the entire process. Learn detailed steps below.

Step 1. Click Start -> System and Security -> Backup and Restore, then you will see the main page of Backup and Restore. Click “Create a system image” to start the imaging operation.

Create a System Image

Step 2. Then, in the "Where do you wan to save the backup?" window, tick "On a hard disk" or "On one or more DVDs" to select a backup destination. You’d better backup system to external hard drive to keep away from the  computer failure.

Select Destination Drive

Step 3. Here, in the "Which drives do you want to include in the backup" window, you can choose the drives you want to image. To image the entire desktop, you need to select all drives listed in the following window. 

Select Source Drive

Step 4. Finally, confirm the backup settings and click "Save settings and run backup" to image OS only or entire hard drive. The default schedule backup is 7:00PM every sunday, but you can change it by clicking "Change schedule".

After the backup, it will pop out a window to ask if you want to create a system repair disc, and please click yes to continue. It will help you boot your computer for repair. However, your backup disk will be full filled sooner or later, because this tool does not support compressing backup image and can only create full backups, which requires a lot of time and large disk space.

Fortunately, you could consider using the best free desktop imaging software AOMEI Backupper Standard to make up this shortcoming. It supports complete backup solutions and backup features, such as, system backup, disk backup, file backup, daily/weekly/monthly schedule backup, incremental backup and differential backup, normal or high compression level, email notification etc. Please download this software to explore yourself.

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How to image your desktop with AOMEI Backupper Standard

Here you will use the best free disk imaging software for Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista to image your desktop. And you could consider using some backup options of it to make your task simple and efficient. Without further ado, let's get started to image hard drive in simple steps.

Step 1. Insert an external hard drive for storing disk image, and make sure your computer can detect it. Then, launch AOMEI Backupper Standard, click Backup-> Disk Backup in order.

Image Disk

Step 2. You will move to the disk backup page. Click "Add Disk" to select the disk you want to backup in desktop computer and then choose the inserted external disk as backup destination.

Add Disk

Step 3. Click "Schedule" and select daily/weekly/monthly backup. The incremental backup is the default backup option under the Advanced tab. After that, click "Start Backup" to execute this task.

Schedule Settings General

Options: You can compress backup image with normal or high compressional level, enable email notification to get backup result without delay, create pre/post-command etc.
Schedule: Except for daily/weekly/monthly incremental backup, you still could consider using differential backup. Please note that the scheduled differential backup is only available on AOMEI Backupper Professional or advanced version.
Scheme: If you create a schedule backup, you could enable backup scheme to delete old backup regularly. Therefore, you will always have some of the latest backups without taking up too much disk space.

This operation is very simple, isn't it? Just a few clicks, you can create a disk image backup successully, and then use it to recover your computer in the event of a disaster. Also, it's suggested to create a bootable media, so you can boot computer when it crashes. 

If you have multiple computers or need to perform batch operations, you could consider AOMEI Image Deploy and PXE boot tool in AOMEI Backupper Technician to deploy image, even a computer with different hardware. 

Over to you

That's all for how to image your desktop with desktop imaging software - Backup and Restore or AOMEI Backupper  Standard. Both of them can help you image hard drive, but the later one will be better. 

With it, you can directly image hard drive without manually choosing data partitions on the disk. It save you much time and effort by its useful backup features, such as, daily backup, weekly backup, incremental backup, differential backup, 2 compression levels, email notification, etc. Just choose a desktop imaging software between them and start to image your desktop.