Earlier today I talked about backups and using Windows 10's built in File History backup service to help insure you do not lose important documents, photos, videos and other files on your devices.

That process will protect the data on your system but what if you experience a major hardware failure with your hard drive that contains your operating system and installed programs?

That is when a properly maintained system image comes in very handy.  By creating this system image on a routine and regular basis you could have your system restored and back up and running in a very short period of time compared to a clean install of the OS and other software.

Let's walk through creating the system image first.

This Control Panel applet does not show up in searches on Windows 10 so you need to open the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) applet instead. Find the link to Create a system image on the upper left side of the dialog box.

Create System Image 1

Click on that link to begin the process on the next screen.

System Image Creation 2

There are three options for the type of media you can create your system image on that includes a hard disk (including external hard drives), DVD or in a network location. With the inexpensive price of hard drives these days that is a fast and economical option. Once you select your media of choice select the disk drive or network location then click Next to continue.

My example of the next step is for selecting a network location.

System Image Creation 3

Be sure to provide the credentials for that location otherwise it will fail when you try to create the system image. Once you are all set just click OK to continue.

System Image Creation 4

Once are back here just click Next to move forward with the process.

System Image Creation 5

You are now asked to verify what drives to include. By default all of the required main system drives are selected and greyed out because they are required. Secondary hard drives in your system may show up in this list but are not necessary to create a system image to restore the OS.

The majority of users will leave this as is and click Next to continue.

System Image Creation 6

Once last review and confirmation and you can click Start backupto begin actually creating your system image.

After the work is complete be sure to keep that image safely stored and protected. It is also useful to do a new image every once in a while to keep it updated.

If you ever need to restore your system image you do that in Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Advanced startup. Just follow the prompts on screen to restart your system and use the system image for restoral.

System Image Creation 7

But, wait...there's probably more so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Google+.