OCD Formatter - Disk Imaging Questions

Hello folks,

As the title says, I am quite OCD about my computer. I format it every few months or so and it really is quite an arduous task. It takes me many hours formatting, installing a fresh OS, reinstalling programs, passwords, favorites, pictures, music, documents, etc.

I was wondering ,when creating a disk image, does the software overwrite changed files or does it format the whole hard drive? I suppose it depends on what method is used?

At the moment, my full format is over due. So very soon, I will be doing all that was listed above. Currently, I have a 1TB WD hard drive and am using 200GB of it for all of my files. I also so happen to have both a 500GB and 320GB spare internal hard drive laying around. Additionally, I have a 1TB WD external hard drive with USB, Firewire, and eSata.

Once my computer is returned to its perfect state, is there a way to make an exact clone of every single KB onto another hard drive? I would like to be able to either return the native hard drive to the EXACT state it was backed up in AND/OR be able to plug in the spare hard drive and operate off of it. What software would be recommended for this? I am currently looking at Acronis True Image Home 2010 & Norton Ghost 15.0. Am I looking at the right stuff?

With the introduction of this disk imaging, I am considering also using another hard drive streamlined just for gaming.

Any answers, ideas, comments, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

System Information:

Windows 7 Professional
Intel Core i7 - 860 Lynnfield Processor @ 2.8GHz
Asus P7P55 WS SuperComputer ATX Motherboard
EVGA 9800 GTX+ Graphics Card
G.SKILL RipJaw 4GB Triple Channel DDR3 1600 RAM
Corsair 850W Power Supply
Cooler Master HAF 932 Steel ATX Full Tower Case
----5 Internal Hard Drive Bays
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  1. Best answer
    Yep it's entirely possible, or you can partition it. Basically the best way is to use a disc imager that will add itself to the MBR (Master Boot Record) of a hard drive. That way if you say hit F11 it will load up the recovery and backup console. The best I've seen for this is Acronis True Image Home. You can create a complete backup of everything and it will add the image to a seperate hard drive or protected partition. You can create a sequential backup and/or a single use only image (i.e. one that you can add to and it will just change the modified files while having a complete factory restore type image also). Very handy if something goes wrong, but it will completely reformat if you need it to, the MBR version of the program has just about all the functions of the Windows version. I'd Highly Recommend it. Also this image is a cloned version so you can use it on multiple hard discs, and you have an option of copying the entire partition you've backed up or copying files/folders. Very handy if you go to a new computer and just want to restore some documents.
  2. That's interesting, Collie. It sounds perfect. However I was just looking at how the software was licensed and it appears you may only use the program on one PC.

    I was unaware of this. This is a problem because I also own three other computers that I would potentially wish to use this software on. I don't feel like shelling out $160 for this software.

    Are there any recommended free alternatives given the information above?
  3. Acronis True image 11 has both a single user and multi user license pack.
    It is also cheap enough for the average home user to afford.

    I myself use the pro version at my place of work on a daily basis and sell the home user version. Pretty good stuff.
  4. As a student, I'm not financially well off as a supposed average home user I guess. Thanks for the reminder.

    Free alternatives anyone? :??:
  5. Best answer selected by w0lfATTACK.
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