Backing up system

hi there. Just reinstalled XP after having needed to reformat my harddisk and reinstall windows. Now I am trying to find a good way to backup the Windows installation to another partition. Here are 3 possibilities that I considered...
1) I can use ntbackup. However, when I google the restore function, nobody really zeroes in on some of the details involved with that, so I don't know what to expect, especially since the backup creates 1 file only. If I restore from that backup file, it will obviously overwrite my existing windows files. Can it do that while Windows is running? Or do you do that from a boot CD?
2) Earlier I tried to boot into the Recovery console and tried the copy function, copy c:\windows to d:\ (which is an active partition). It keeps returning 'access denied'. Why is the Windows system on the CD which I booted from so protective?
3) Then I read about cloning. Cloning programs want to clone the entire disk or partition. But what if I just want Windows to be cloned?
Thanks in advance for your help.
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  1. if you want some backup software, i suggest two:
    EASEUS Todo Backup Home
    Macrium Reflect Free
    they are the top two free backup softwares at

    many software have the copy function, and they can easily help you boot from the destination partition, but i don't know the professional one.

    then, clone. as i know, todo backup i mentioned above can clone disk and partition. you can choose sector by sector clone or not. if not, it just clone the space you used. so, you needn't worry the clone software will clone all the blank sector without your agreement.

    hope my suggestion is useful to you
    download.cnet has many free software, i always search software there. i think you also can find helpful one.
  2. Thanks for your tips. Easeus is quite user-friendly and useful. I have installed it and will work with it.
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