I've been having a lot of hard disk crashes lately, and every time that happens, I have to reinstall all my programs and restore all the settings which can take several days to dig them all out again.
Now that I have just completed a complete reinstall, I want to preserve this set up. If I copy ALL the files from my drive on to another drive, and my original drive fails again, can I just restore all those files and everything will be the same? ie. Windows will boot up just fine, all the apps will work, the registry will be saved, etc. etc. I don't have any documents on the drive, so I'm just interested in preserving the programs and settings.
I've heard of ghosting programs, which cost a lot of money, but if just copying all the files work, why not just do that? What would be missing? The only thing I can think of is the MBR, which I can restore...
Hands down use Norton Ghost, cost around $60.00. If you don't want to do that you can use NT Backup, backup your whole computer to a different hard drive and then if the hard drive crashes once more do a re-store from your backup to a new hard drive.
:cool: <font color=blue> I know nothing that is why i am here at THG!</font color=blue>
If it were just a matter of merit, then Ghost would be fine as a drive imager (which is what you need). But what we have here is a user who is not that technically inclined and Ghost can be a ***** to use. A better choice for you is probably Acronis True Image or Symantec Drive Image 2002. And make no mistake- your average backup program won't do what you want. You need a drive imager that will backup the drive Master Boot Record (MBR) and everything else.
Now, which imager to use? Well, as I said, using Ghost is a lot of work. Then you add to that the fact that the program doesn't have a future for consumer-level use. The new version is being sold to big companies (they have IT departments to figure out the scripts you need to use) AND it costs over $250US for each copy. Drive Image is what I've been using since version 2.0 and I recommend it. Since you use Win XP, I'd get Drive Image 7. It lets you run a drive image without leaving Windows. True Image is not quite as good in some ways, but it's getting better. Both of these programs are priced for consumers at under $100.
Sorry if that seems like a lot of money, but these programs are complicated and hard to write. While you're getting the money together, I'd make a restore point every day, at least, so you could restore to that point.
Then what you need to do is find out WHY XP is crashing so much. It's not normal at all!
I have been using the free download of the Drive2Drive product for Win98/ME for several years and have found it excellent for backing up an entire hard drive. The only hitch is that the destination drive must be approximately the same size as the source drive. However, it appears this product will not work with WinXP.
For WinXP they have something called Casper XP 2.0 for $44.95