I understand your frustration, but restoring an old backup on to a brand new machine is not exactly what image backups are for.
And to be really honest, it’s not why you back up.
An image backup includes settings about your hardware, the configuration that Windows went through, and other information. When you place the image backup on a new machine, those settings in the image backup no longer apply. The backup can still be useful, but not for what you’re trying to do.
So, when is an image backup useful? Let’s look at a couple of scenarios.
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When your hard disk fails
If your hard disk fails, you’re not necessarily going to replace your entire computer. Most people and businesses will simply go out and get a replacement hard drive (often a slightly bigger one to increase the capacity) and simply swap out the old drive for the new.
That’s a perfect scenario for an image backup.
Your image backup software can then restore the image that you took to that new hard disk and everything will simply work as it was before you had the hard disk failure.
When malware strikes
I have encountered some seriously infected machines. Now, you can try to disinfect and remove malware and spyware, but once you’re infected, you’ve basically lost control of your machine. Yes, you may have clean scans, but you never really know that you’ve actually cleaned everything unless you restore to a backup image that was taken prior to the infection.
These days, this is actually one of the most common uses for image backups because infections are happening at a higher rate. Malware authors are getting sneakier and more devious, and unfortunately, people are accidentally getting their machines infected. There’s nothing as reassuring as being able to say, “Oh, well, darn, my machine’s been infected! I’ll simply restore the backup that was taken last night,” and poof, the machine is clean.
When you want to copy or restore some files
This scenario is when you don’t need to restore the entire image. You can pick and choose files, folders, and whatnot from an image to copy or restore to your machine. The image has everything, by definition, so there’s no worrying that you may have missed backing something up – you can just go to the image backup and get it.
For instance, if I delete a file today that I later find out I want to keep, I can go to the image backup that I took last night and simply restore that single file. Similarly, when you’re moving from machine to machine, using your image backup as a way to transfer your data files is a perfectly reasonable approach to getting those files to your new machine.
When you move from one machine to the other
I don’t have a lot of faith in this scenario, but it actually attempts to address what you’ve described. Some backup programs actually will attempt to reinstall and then reconfigure the backup image taken from one machine and restored on to another.
Macrium includes this in their Professional version. I haven’t tried it, but depending on the scenarios that you’re encountering, it might be something to try.
Image backups are incredibly valuable and useful for many different scenarios.
But their primary purpose is not transferring to new machines, it’s backing up the data on your existing one.