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Hard Drive Recovery: How to Restore Your Hard Disk With Complete PC Restore

written by: Dianna Monda Dill•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 12/31/2009

Read on to learn how to use the Windows Vista Complete PC Backup and Restore feature for hard drive recovery.

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    You can easily perform a hard drive backup and disk data recovery on your PC using a Windows Vista utility called Complete PC Backup and Restore. This utility is available on the Vista Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions.

    Using the Complete PC Backup and Restore utility, you can create a complete backup, not only of your data, but also of your entire system, including your operating system and other important system files.

    This tutorial will walk you through the process of using a backup recovery disk to completely restore your system in the event of a crash.

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    1. To use the Complete PC Restore utility, you will need to have previously created a Vista recovery disk to boot from. You will use this backup disk to access the Windows Recovery Environment.
    2. Insert the backup recovery disk into your DVD-ROM drive and boot up your computer. This will take you to the BIOS listing information about your PC.
    3. Press any key to continue, which will load the Windows Setup environment. When prompted, enter your preferred language to install, a time and currency format, as well as a keyboard or other input method.
    4. Click Next to continue, which takes you to the main Vista setup screen. Select the Repair your computer option.
    5. Vista will conduct a search of all the Windows installations on your hard drive, and then present you with the System Recovery Options screen. Select the specific installation that you want to repair.
    6. Click Load Drivers if there is a driver or drivers that need to be loaded in order for Vista to access your drives. Click Next to continue the repair process.
    7. If the repair process does not detect any problems with starting Vista, then it will present you with a list of available recovery utilities. Click on Windows Complete PC Restore from the list.
    8. The repair process will now proceed to search your DVD media for your saved backup images. Select the backup image that you want to restore and then click the Next button. Choose the most recent snap shot. Click Next to continue.
    9. Select the Format and repartition disks option. This will format your hard drive, restoring it exactly as it had previously been when saved to your backup image.
    10. Click Finish to complete the repair process. When prompted, place a check mark next to the option that reads: I confirm that I want to erase all existing data and restore the backup. Click OK to continue.

    Complete PC Restore will then restore the backup image onto your computer. and you are done!