For most people the need to restore a complete disk image is pretty rare. Usually this will be necessary only if the bootable internal disk has failed or one is replacing the bootable internal disk with a newer drive. If the main disk is bootable and contains one's screen reading software, Image for Windows can be used to easily restore a partition of the drive and/or the entire drive from an external USB backup.

Below are several suggestions for how one can restore from a backup should the main bootable drive fail or need to be replaced.

Using a bootable USB thumb drive running Vinux

This solution is probably the most elegant, but requires a fair amount of time to set up as well as a reasonable amount of computer sophistication on the part of the user.

Vinux is a version of the Linux operating system that has been made to be accessible "out of the box" to the visually impaired. Below is a link to instructions for creating a version of Vinux that can be run from a bootable USB thumb drive and that contains the Image for Linux tools that can be used to restore from a backup.

Creating and using a bootable Vinux USB thumb drive containing the Image for Linux tools

Using this approach one would boot one's PC from the USB thumb drive, and then from within the Vinux OS, run the Image for Linux program to restore a disk image from a previously made Image for Windows backup. Note: The Image for Linux (as well as the Image for DOS) utilities come as part of the Image for Windows tool set.

You can find out more about Vinux and download this free and accessible operating system from:

You can also listen to some previous episodes of Eyes On Success which feature interviews with some of the developers of Vinux. Click on one of the links below to find links to the audio and show notes for those episodes:

Using NVDA or SA2Go

Another approach to restoring a complete disk image if the bootable drive on your PC fails is to use another screen reader, such as NVDA or SA2Go, along with a bootable Windows CD. Using this method, one would boot from the Windows restore disk and then use another screen reader to run the Image for Windows utilities that you have previously copied to your backup medium. Note: The first few steps below are prerequisites and must be performed while your computer is still in good shape!

  1. First, if you don't already have a Windows Restore CD from which you can boot your system, you should create one and save it. Any time you get a new PC, this is probably one of the first things you should do anyway so that you can at least boot your system should any problems develop. Windows comes with a utility to create a system repair disk. Find this utility on your system and follow the instructions. In later versions of Windows you can find this utility easily by typing "create" into the Search field in the Windows Start menu.
  2. If you will be using NVDA to do the restore later on, you should also download NVDA and follow the instructions to install it on a USB thumb drive from which it can be run. You can find out more about the free NVDA screen reader as well as download the program from:

    Instructions for installing NVDA so that it can be run from a portable medium can be found at:
  3. The final step that needs to be performed while your system is still running is to copy the Image for Windows utilities and/or install them onto the USB medium on which you'll be keeping your backups. This needs to be done so that you'll have a running version of the Image for Windows utilities when booting from the Windows Systems Repair disk.
  4. With the above preparation out of the way, you're now ready to restore a disk image. At this point, you will boot from the Windows System Restore disk and run NVDA from the portable medium on which you installed NVDA. NVDA can then be used to run the Image for Windows utilities which you have previously copied to your USB backup disk and, finally, restore the desired disk image.
  5. If you have an internet connection, an alternative to using NVDA with the Windows system Repair disk is to use the free System Access To Go screen reader. Once you have booted from the Windows System Repair disk, you can run SAToGo by opening a browser and typing the following URL into the address field:
    This will automatically start the SAToGo screen reader which you can then use to run the Image for Windows utilities from your backup medium.

Previous episodes of Eyes On Success featured NVDA and SAToGo. To find links to the audio and show notes for these episodes, click on one of the links below: