Backup and Imaging

Obviously, backing up your data is the most important since you can always replace failed hardware. However, recovering from a system crash can be very time-consuming. Installing XP, Vista, or Linux plus all your applications and then tweaking your system can be a pain.

Acronis® True Image Echo Workstation

Add-ons / Acronis® Universal Restore
*This allows you to recover to an image if the hardware changes. It basically resets the HAL in Windows, and can be very useful.

Acronis is nice because it will image while the system is running under XP. I’ve used it for several years now and had great luck with it.

Here is the method that I suggest you do for a complete backup of your computers.

  1. Backup all important data “bulk data” (movie files, word docs, spreadsheets, pictures, email files, etc) to removable drive, DVD, etc. A great utility to find a lot of extra data is JDisk Report.
  2. Delete the “bulk data” from each machine after backup and before imaging. This keeps the image file(s) from being too bloated.
  3. Run a temp file cleanup utility, Diskeeper Pro, and Registry Mechanic.
  4. Image the PC and store the image to a removable drive, DVD, online storage, etc. Use the “archive splitting” option in the imaging software so break the images into 4.7 GB chunks so they will fit on a DVD.
  5. Copy the “bulk data” back to the pc once imaging is completed.

Now you have a “clean” image of the pc that can be recovered relatively quickly and easily. If you have a computer that you use a lot and add software too, you can do an incremental image with Acronis also, which can be set to run automatically.

Additional Resources:

Technology Report 1-8-2008

Firefox and Google Bookmarks

Trusting Google with your Email

Backing up your System