OS backup ?

i have windows 7 home premium, a external hard drive with 180gb free space, i want to back up my OS with all my documents and most of my installed software...my question is im in the control panel back up page and its giving me three option:

1. create a system image
2. create a system repair disk
3. set up backup

can you please explain what each one does and what would be the best one for me for what i listed above..sorry im in the wrong thread but i really need to backup my OS :). ty
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More about backup
  1. I don't use windows backup, but from the description it appears that...

    1. This will create a system/disk image. This is an exact copy of your hard drive and will contain everything on the source drive. You just restore the image to a drive and it will be an exact copy/clone of the original. This is good for backing up the entire OS, programs, and data.

    2. This will create a bootable repair disk in case for some reason you are no longer able too boot from the OS drive. This is not a backup, but will contain tools to help you repair the OS.

    3. This looks like a normal file backup, where you pick which folders and documents you want backed up. You won't be able to boot with this backup like you will with a system image. You would need to reinstall the OS, then restore any data from this backup. This is typically good for backing up data, but not programs or the OS.

    If you want your software and all copied, you'll need a system image.
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