A System State backup won’t recover your system

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From some recent support queries we believe there are some questions over the status of Windows System State backup in BackupAssist v7. Our Windows System State backup – formerly System State – has been moved to the shadows as there was confusion about whether it could be used in recoveries. It can’t recover a system that cannot start itself. It is simply a copy of the settings, registry entries and system configurations used by the operating system and cannot bring a machine back to life.

What is Windows System State backup?

A Windows SystemState backup generally includes a copy of any installed device drivers and related files, the Windows Registry, the Active Directory configuration (where applicable) and some system files. It is not a full backup of the operating system.

What is it used for?

A Windows System State backup is used when you have operating system errors causing corrupt system settings. You can use a Windows SystemState backup to restore your system’s settings to a time when they were stable, in an attempt to reduce the errors on your otherwise healthy computer.

What a system state backup can’t do

If your computer won’t boot due to a hardware or software failure then using a Windows SystemState backup to try and recover your computer or system is a waste of time. To recover your system you’ll need two things: a recovery media and a full bare metal backup (this will include a copy of the entire operating system). You can create recovery media using the Recovery tab and RecoverAssist and you can create bare-metal backups using System Protection.

Windows SystemState vs a bare-metal backup

A bare-metal backup is critical to protecting your system when your hardware or software fails. It contains an image file of the system including the operating system and all of its settings. You can actually use a bare-metal backup to restore Windows SystemState settings.

A bare-metal backup is critical to protecting your system when your hardware or software fails. It contains an image file of the system including the operating system and all of its settings. You can actually use a bare-metal backup to restore Windows SystemState settings.

If you still want to only backup up your system’s settings and registry, then here’s how.

To enable Windows SystemState:

  • Select the BackupAssist Settings tab.
  • Select Windows settings.
  • Tick Enable v6 compatible Windows SystemState selection.
  • Backup jobs created in earlier versions of BackupAssist (that included System State) will have the setting enabled by default in BackupAssist v7.
  • Zip-to-tape backup jobs will not need to enable this setting, to select Windows SystemState.

To select Windows SystemState:

  • Select the BackupAssist Backup tab, and then select the Manage menu.
  • Select the backup job that you want to modify
  • Select Edit from the menu.
  • Select Files and applications from the left pane.
  • Select Windows SystemState at the top of the data selection pane.

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