System Images (or Disk Images) and Backups (or File Backups) are features designed to back up the files and settings on a PC. So, what makes them different?
A File Backup stores a collection of a user's files and settings in an archive which is transferred to another storage media like an external hard drive or DVDs. A File Backup is great for storing pictures, videos, documents, and other file based resourced. There are to major drawbacks to using a File Backup system: First, programs and applications cannot be saved, and second, Windows or your operating system is not saved. If your hard drive crashes, you will need to reinstall Windows with the original disc or recovery media.
A System Image or Disk Image stores all of the information on a hard drive in a file on another hard drive, or collection of DVDs. The main advantage is that if the hard drive were to fail or to be wiped out by a virus, the System Image could be restored to put the computer exactly to where it was. For example: when System Image is created on Saturday at 5pm, then the hard drive crashes on Thursday at 3am, the computer could be restored to exactly how it was on Saturday at 5pm with a new hard drive and all programs.
To review: File Backup will save pictures, documents, etc. whereas a System Image will save everything including all of the applications and the operating system.