13 May, 2015 (Updated 19 March, 2016)
By Joe Callison
Formatting a Flash Drive or External Hard Drive for System Image Backup
Most Windows XP and virtually all Windows 7 and 8.x computer operating systems are installed with the hard drive formatted with NTFS instead of the older FAT16 or FAT32 file structure used in earlier versions of Windows. The FAT file systems are limited to much smaller maximum hard drive partition sizes and maximum file sizes than NTFS. To keep compatibility with most kinds of operating systems, flash drives (and many older and smaller external hard drives) are normally formatted with a FAT file structure. If you want to back up an NTFS system image on a flash drive, you will need to reformat it with NTFS first. Note that this will erase all existing data from the flash drive! To do this, insert the flash drive in your computer USB port and open the Computer window.
Note that on this system, the flash drive is called REMOVABLE (F:) and the file system is FAT32.
Right-clicking on the flash drive icon will open a menu that includes Format. Clicking on format will open the following window, showing the FAT32 file system as default:
Click on the FAT32 (Default) entry to bring up the complete list of file systems and you will get the following:
Change the file system by clicking on NTFS and then click the Start button to begin formatting. Once it completes formatting, you can go to Windows Back Up and write a system image to your flash drive, assuming it has enough capacity for the image.
(Updated 19 March, 2016 – Windows Back Up does not let you write a system image to a flash drive unless you trick it into thinking it is a network drive, which is a little complicated for most users. Even if you do that, the Windows Recovery will not allow you to choose the flash drive to recover the system image. It has to be copied from the flash drive to another internal or external hard drive or partition for Windows Recovery to discover it. The NTFS format for a flash drive is still useful if you need to copy a file to it that is larger than 4 GB, such as a backup file that was made in a different location.)
Windows 10 News
Windows 10 has been promoted as one Windows for all devices, but today Microsoft introduced various Windows 10 Editions to “optimize” Windows for each device type. There will be Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 Education, Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise, and Windows 10 IoT Core. You can read about these editions in the Windows blog:
At the recent Microsoft Build 2015 event, it was revealed that the new browser, previously referred to as Project Spartan, will be have the official name Microsoft Edge. It will not replace Internet Explorer 11, but will be the default browser for most users except those needing compatibilty with some existing websites that must use IE 11. The New Tab function will include a search bar, a display of the most common sites you visit, and an assortment of news stories, weather, sports, and suggested apps.
It was announced that Windows 10 will support apps written for iOS and Android, with some reworking.
The personal assistant, Cortana, will provide information based on how you search the web and use your PC, suggest new apps based on what you search for, and will be able to interact with apps using voice control.
Microsoft Continuum is a feature that automatically switches from phone or tablet style to desktop style when you connect up to a monitor, mouse and keyboard.
Microsoft has still not provided a firm release date for Windows 10, but vendors have indicated that it will be the end of July. That will probably be the release to manufacturer date, and will be followed by a retail store release by the end of August.
Microsoft has not revealed the details of what they mean by Windows transitioning from a product to a service. There are many leaks and rumors that suggest Windows 10, which Microsoft announced as “the last version of Windows”, will be followed by just plain Windows that will be a subscription service. There are indications in Windows Update that Windows 7 and Windows 8.x users will be nagged to update to Windows 10. The same could be done to nag people to update from Windows 10 to a Windows subscription. Microsoft could even not support updates and security patches for users who do not update to the subscription service as they previously did going from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. Then your free upgrade to Windows 10 may not turn out to be free after all!