Q: I updated my Windows 7 PC to Windows 10, but then had trouble with my hard drive. To avoid losing any data, including 20 years of photos, I made a “system image” of my hard drive on seven DVD disks. Then I reformatted the hard drive and reinstalled Windows 10. But now I can’t retrieve the photos using Microsoft’s Disk Management program. What can I do?

Joseph Guido, Oley, Pa.


A: You are using the wrong Microsoft program to recover a “system image,” a type of PC backup that makes an exact copy of everything on your hard drive, including Windows 10. The program to use is called “system image recovery.”

The recovery will replace everything currently on your hard drive with what was there at the time you made the system image. For step-by-step directions, see tinyurl.com/zatkegs and scroll down to “launching system image recovery.”

But first, make sure your hard drive is working (see “warning signs of hard drive failure” at tinyurl.com/het25bp). If the drive’s actions are questionable, replace it.

Once you begin the system image recovery, you’ll face a couple of possibilities:

The system image restores properly: You’ll get your photos back, but you’ll also get back the previous installation of Windows 10. If that installation was flawed, you’ll be getting those problems back, too.

The system image won’t restore: This could happen if your hard drive wasn’t working properly when you made the system image. But even if the system image can’t be restored, you may be able to recover individual photos, this time by using the Windows Disk Management program. For step-by-step directions, see tinyurl.com/jhdujx5 (the directions are for Windows 7, but the process is the same for Windows 10.)

In the future, remember that the system image program is only for emergencies, not routine data backups. It will be much easier to retrieve your irreplaceable photos and data if you copy only those files to an external hard drive or flash drive.


Q: My Kodak Pulse Digital Frame (a Wi-Fi-equipped digital picture frame) worked well until it recently stopped accepting new photos via Wi-Fi, even though the device’s memory isn’t full. The picture frame also keeps disconnecting from my Wi-Fi network. What can I do?

Janet Millstein, Aventura, Fla.


A: Push the “Health Check” button on the back of the picture frame, which will display the frame’s Wi-Fi connection on the screen. A blue arrow beside a Wi-Fi source means the connection is working, and a red arrow means it’s not. Touch the “fix it” button on the screen to repair a connection. For more help, see page 29 of the user guide at tinyurl.com/zfqxc4s.

If that doesn’t work, move the frame closer to your wireless router to improve Wi-Fi reception. Or change the router’s Wi-Fi radio channel to avoid interference (see tinyurl.com/gqrvhg2.)

If the frame still doesn’t receive new photos, make sure the pictures being sent to it are in the “.JPG” (also written JPEG) file format that the frame requires. To check the file format on a PC, right-click the photo and choose properties. On a Mac, use the “Get Info” command (see tinyurl.com/hx8nash).


E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com. Include name, city and telephone number.