I'm going to be sending in my laptop for a repair (damaged touchpad) and the company warned me to backup my data and system since they are not responsible for damages. I've done some google searches but all the articles tell you to use Windows backup tool but I don't have a Windows Home CD to install it from (wither lost it or never got one), I have plenty of external space to backup the whole drive on but how would I do it with out the Windows Backup tool?
You won't get a Windows CD unless you request one from the manufacturer... they won't even give you a set of restore CDs anymore. When you first set up the laptop, you are supposed to create your restore discs yourself. Quite often, there is also a restore partition on the hard drive... but of course if the hard drive is replaced, the restore partition is lost.
goto majorgeeks.com and get a ghosting program of your choice. There are several to choose from.
Ghosting is a bit better than backup as it will copy your complete drive giving you the ability to totally reload in one step if something goes wrong, where as backup misses many files unless you specifically include them in the backup.
Most OEM's wipe the drive everytime they get a PC, but will perform the repair without a drive in the system. I simply never send them the hard drives, odds are this place will do the same. It requires some comfort level though... I guaranteee they will wipe the drive if you send it in.