How do you recover from a dead internal hard drive or SSD? Or if Windows becomes so messed up it’s useless or even unbootable?

You can always reinstall Windows from scratch. But after that you must reinstall all of your programs, and then reconfigure everything.

But if you have a relatively recent image backup handy, you can recover Windows, your programs, and your configurations with a few minutes’ work. 

Image backup vs. file backup

An image backup copies everything on your drive, including partitions and the boot sector. It’s the only way to back up your Windows installation properly, with all of your programs and settings. Don’t confuse this with a file backup, which only copies your data files (documents, photos, spreadsheets, and so on).

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