I did it for my laptop. My hard drive started going bad, so Windows told me to back it up. I just clicked on the warning window and followed the steps to use the default backup to an external drive, a created a repair disc as well. When I got my new hard drive, I put it in, plugged in the external, booted to the cd, In about 40 minutes, my laptop was up and running to the same point in which I made the back up. All programs were reinstalled and everything, all i had to do was get updates that came out after my backup was made. It worked great.