I've just done a fresh install of Windows Vista on my laptop along with all the current updates. I've uninstalled all the crap-ware I do not want and installed the programs that I do. Now, I would like to create an image of this "newly" fresh install so I won't have to sit and go through all the time consuming updating/uninstalling process again. I've never created a disk image before and not even sure if it's worth doing or not. Not sure how to do it, either.
Here are a few questions I have.
1. Is creating a disk image something worth doing or should I just keep installing from the laptop's partition? I'm just trying to avoid installing all that massive amount of free crap-ware and also save some time doing reinstalls.
2. If I create a disk image, will it be bootable or is this basically a recovery cd that has to be installed from within Windows?
3. If the disk image will be bootable, then I'll want to format the entire laptop drive including the recovery partition to gain more space on the hard drive. Unless you guys advise against this. What do you suggest?
4. What software do you guys recommend I use to create my disk image?
I'm new to this and certainly open to any suggestions you may have.
I appreciate your time and thank you for your help.
I used to be in the same position as you. I didn't know any better for the longest time and I kept reinstalling everything over and over until I found out about Acronis True Image.
The first thing you do is back up all of your data. Then you format your hard drive and reinstall windows and all of your applications, programs, files, documents, music, etc.
Once you have it how you like it you use Acronis to duplicate the hard drive onto another hard drive (best way because all you have to do is plug in the backup hard drive and you're back up and running.)
Anyway, it's the best $30 I ever spent. There are a ton of features and it covers all of your back up needs. You can clone disks, backup, recover, convert windows backups to acronis and vic versa, drive cleanser, and file shredder (gives you multiple methods of data destruction such as the department of defense standard, peter gutmann standard, navy information system security program, etc).
One of my favorite features is called "Try and Decide." I'll copy and paste the description: "When Try&Decide is on, you can install unsafe software, visit untrusted websites, open suspicious e-mails, and perform any other potentiality dangerous operations without risk. Try&Decide lets you apply or discard changes to your computer." Basically once you have it enabled, any actions or changes you make on your computer are reversible back to the point you enabled Try&Decide.
Anyway, as you can see I highly recommend this program.