November 26, 2007

Backup and restore your hard drive

So you want to create a complete image of your hard drive and you want to do it while you're working on your computer. Give DriveImage XML a try. Lifehacker gives you the lowdown. Excerpt:

First, download DriveImage XML for free and install it as usual. You can store your system image anywhere you'd like, but I highly recommend saving it on a disk other than the one you're imaging. So if you plan to image your C: drive, purchase an external hard drive to store C:'s image, or right after you create the image, burn the files to CD or DVD. This way if your C: drive fails or breaks, you
still have your image available on a separate physical disk.


Perform a Complete
System Restore

If your computer's hard drive crashed entirely, you can restore it to its past state using the DiX image you created. Restoring an image to a target disk will delete everything on the disk and copy the contents of the image to it. That means you cannot restore an image to a drive you're already using (because you can't delete the contents of a disk already in use.) So if you booted up your
computer on your C: drive, you can't restore an image to your C: drive. You need access to the target drive as a secondary disk. There are a few ways to do this. You can install the target drive as a slave in another PC in addition to its primary boot drive, or you can buy a hard drive enclosure and connect the target as an external drive. Either way, to restore a disk image to a drive you intend to boot from, you'll need:

  1. A PC running DriveImage XML

  2. The saved disk image files, whether they're on CD, DVD, on the
    host PC or on an external drive

  3. A target drive with a partition at least the size of the drive
    image files. (You can use Windows built-in Disk Management console
    or your partition manager of choice to create a new partition to
    restore to.)

There's a lot more to read.

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