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How to Create an ISO Image from my Installed Windows

A quick "best effort, bare minimum approach" since most developers may need to deal with this - at least for their home computers - and it is a huge waste of time for all of us.

Are you in acute need of recovering your system, or do you just want a system backup (for later)?

I will assume the first (second issue below the divider line):

Reinstall Windows

  1. Recovery Partition : There might be a  recovery partition  hidden on your disk which will do the task for you auto-magically when invoked right. Various ways to trigger such a recovery depending on the PC vendor.

    • You must backup all your files as the recovery will wipe everything out .

    • Best real-world advice, if you haven't done this before, would be to get on the phone with a computer-savvy friend to give you a quick start or a few heads-ups. They may accept payment in Tequila, Red-wine, iTunes gift cards etc... :-).

    • Maybe launch  diskmgmt.msc  to see what is on your disk. Check your  PC vendor's web site for recovery instructions, or the  retail store  where you bought it.

  2. Download ISO : I believe  you can also download the official Windows ISO images from Microsoft upon entering a valid license key .

Image Backup & Recovery

System Image : If what you want is just a  backup image of your whole system  (which should also be possible to recover as a working system provided your system isn't already broken), you could use those imaging tools such as  Ghost  (not sure if it is even available anymore -  looks like there is a replacement suite ) and whatever new is on the block.  I haven't done this kind of work in years  -  and shouldn't try to answer this question - if I had any sense :-) .


How to boot windows 7 activator with UEFI?

This isn't something I do every day to say the least, and the topic is more suited for serverfault.com or superuser.com as mentioned in my comment above.

However, it seems formatting the USB key as FAT32 and extracting the ISO onto the FAT32 partition is good enough: Making a Windows 10 install USB. EFI apparently needs no special boot sectors just a FAT32 partition and the \efi\boot\boot[arch].efi loader (see link).

This matches Microsoft's own documenation on the subject: Install Windows from a USB Flash Drive. Quote: "...select the FAT32 file system to be able to boot either BIOS-based or UEFI-based PCs".

This is probably the same for Windows 7, but no guarantees. I would probably go for the The Windows USB/DVD Download Tool.

Also mentioning Windows 10's MediaCreationTool.exe documentation, and the tool itself.

And cross-linking a similar answer I wrote yesterday (for reference and easy retrieval): How to Create an ISO Image from my Installed Windows.


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Alpha Version 0.0.20, 17.January.2021