Windows Reset vs Image Restore. . . Which One is Better?

Windows experiences sometimes have an effect that is very revealing. It involved a certain feature in Microsoft PowerPoint misbehaving and after being unable to resolve the issue with technical support, I realized I was on my own with this problem. I tried reinstalling Microsoft Office, ensuring I had all applicable app updates, and still the problem persisted.

A Windows Reset was decided upon as being the best option, which wipes out all data and reinstalls Windows from a hidden partition on the hard drive. I backed up my data and did the reset. Then I reinstalled Microsoft Office. The misbehaving feature of PowerPoint was still raising its ugly head. Confusion set in, since I had always had success using this method. Then I realized that my Windows on that hidden partition must have somehow became corrupted.

I begin looking for a system image backup on my backup drive and found one about five months old. The image restore process became my immediate task and proceeded in that direction. The restore was successful and I immediately opened PowerPoint and tested my misbehaving feature once again; this time success was the outcome. This experience reminded me of just how important backups are; more specifically, it reminded me of the positive payoff of having a system image as the backup. Lesson relearned.

Here's the Pro and Con of these two methods of restoration:

Windows Reset

  • When you can't get rid of a problem that you know is fixable, this is often considered the last option, albeit the "sledge-hammer to the fly" approach.
  • Since the Windows Registry is reset, other secondary issues, i.e. overall reduced PC performance is usually improved.

System Image

  • When you can't get rid of a problem that you know is fixable, this can be a faster solution, depending on how much is on that PC, meaning the number of applications and amount of data stored. If minor, this fix can be a solution in less than twenty minutes.
  • Since an image includes Windows, apps, data, and settings, once the restore is successful, the only thing that is left to do is reinstall any apps or data that you backed up since the day you imaged your PC. If this time period is short, this often can mean having all data reinstalled in minutes.

Consider this as another household chore, along with doing the dishes. The result is less time fixing the PC and more time getting important things accomplished, which is always at the top of our list of intentions.