What you need to know about system-image backups to restore them to a different computer from the one used to create them

Backups are broadly divided into standard backups of an entire drive or drives from which individual files or folders can be restored or system images that make a restorable copy or clone of the entire system or drive from which individual files or folders cannot be selected for restoration. Standard backups allow full or incremental backups that only backup changes made after a full backup has been created. If a full backup was created on say the first day of a week (Monday) and incremental backups were created daily until the next full backup was created on the next Monday, a full backup restored six days after the first full backup (on the following Sunday) would require that the six incremental backups be restored after that first full Monday’s backup was restored.

If your computer is rendered a write-off by an electrical spike, etc., if have files-and-folders backups that can be reinstalled on a different computer, you can recover pretty quickly. Just copy the files to a new computer which has Windows 10 installed on it. Restoring a system image – a snapshot of the old system – to a new computer would be more difficult because it contains the software device drivers for the old computer that won’t work on the new computer because they can only work on the specific hardware they were created to work on. You need to use a third-party system imaging tool that has that capability, such as Paragon Backup & Recovery 15 Home, which allows the system images it creates to be restored to a different computer. Note that the Paragon Backup & Recovery Free Edition can only restore to the same computer that the system image was created on.

Paragon Backup & Recovery 15 Home –


Microsoft says: “Microsoft does not support restoring a system state backup from one computer to a second computer of a different make, model, or hardware configuration,” which means that if you have created a system image using the Backup & Restore software that comes with Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 you won’t be able to restore it to a different computer unless its hardware matches the one that was put out of action as fully as possible – is running the same motherboard that supports the same processor (Intel/AMD CPU). In short, for Windows to be able to restore to a different computer it must be using as many of the same device drivers as the one that was put out of action as is possible.

About Eric 275 Articles
I am an experienced PC technician who has been the owner and sole writer of the PC Buyer Beware! website since 2004. I am learning all the time in this very dynamic, ever-changing field.