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How To Make A Disk Image In Windows XP

This article is part of Windows XP Backup Strategies For Home Users

 

There is only 1 truly reliable way to backup XP and that is with a disk image. A disk image is a bit-by-bit exact copy of a hard drive or partition. All information is retained including the files placement/layout on the disk. A disk image is saved as an archive and as such may be accessed (mounted and explored) as if it were another drive. This means the data within the backup is always accessible. I have seen every other type of backup method fail permanently (as in no way to recover). While I have had individual attempts at recovering an image fail I have never had it fail permanently. Meaning, I have had an attempt fail but a simple "do-over" has completed the task successfully. This is accomplished by following the steps below.

While these programs can image any drive I usually only use imaging for the partition/drive that XP is on. That is the main focus of this article. I use other methods for data drives. That is just personal preference, both these programs do an excellent job with data drives too.

(FYI - These programs can backup Linux partitions. Ghost will not do ReiserFS.  See the programs documentation for more info.)

 

This article will show you how to use 2 of the most popular disk image programs, Acronis True Image and Norton Ghost and the recent offshoot of Ghost, Norton Save & Restore.

 

These are my failsafe guidelines to successful disk image backups:

 

1 - These programs come with the option of making boot/rescue disks. It is imperative that you make these disks AND use them to make sure they work.

 

2 - These programs have the ability to save backups to another drive/partition, another computer, or burn to CD/DVD. You should always have a backup available on at least 2 different sources.

 

3 - I know I'll get some argument on this... Once saved to a location DO NOT MOVE the backup. Trust me on this. I've seen the only images people have fail due to data corruption after an image was moved to another location.

 

4 - Keep multiple backups. For instance I make full backups every so often. Then immediately after I make a full backup I make a 2nd full backup. I then perform incremental backups (see definitions below) to that second backup. i.e. I make a full backup named 2ndfull, then I make a backup called 2ndinc to make incremental backups to. That way if for any reason something goes wrong with the incremental backups or if I just want to go all the way back, I'm covered.

 

5 - Both these programs have the ability to verify an image. This means it checks the image to make sure it's OK. Make use of this feature!!!

 

Here are the descriptions of the types of backups, taken from here. There may be slight variations in terminology by different vendors but the basics are the same:

 

Copy backup
A copy backup copies all selected files but does not mark each file as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is not cleared). Copying is useful if you want to back up files between normal and incremental backups because copying does not affect these other backup operations.

Daily backup
A daily backup copies all selected files that have been modified the day the daily backup is performed. The backed-up files are not marked as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is not cleared).

Differential backup
A differential backup copies files created or changed since the last normal or incremental backup. It does not mark files as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is not cleared). If you are performing a combination of normal and differential backups, restoring files and folders requires that you have the last normal as well as the last differential backup.

Incremental backup
An incremental backup backs up only those files created or changed since the last normal or incremental backup. It marks files as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is cleared). If you use a combination of normal and incremental backups, you will need to have the last normal backup set as well as all incremental backup sets in order to restore your data.

Normal backup
A normal backup copies all selected files and marks each file as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is cleared). With normal backups, you need only the most recent copy of the backup file or tape to restore all of the files. You usually perform a normal backup the first time you create a backup set.

 

 

 

Compression

The term compression or compression level is often used when making backups and images. This refers to how small the backup/image is made.

Higher compression means the image uses less disk space but it makes for slower backup and recovery.

 

 

 

Windows XP Backup Strategies For Home Users

How To Repartition Your OS Drive In Windows XP

Using Acronis Disk Director 10.0

Using Norton PartitionMagic 8.0

XP's Built-in Backup Methods

How To Use Windows XP System Restore

How To Use Driver Rollback In Windows XP

How To Use The Backup Utility In Windows XP (NTbackup.exe)

How To Manually Back Up And Restore The Registry In Windows XP

How To Backup Your Login Password In Windows XP

3rd Party Backup Programs

How To Make A Disk Image In Windows XP

Programs For Backing Up Data Files In Windows XP

Roxio Easy Media Creator 9 (or Backup MYPC 2006) Nero 7
Backing Up Data With Acronis True Image Home 10.0 Backing Up Data With Norton Save & Restore

 

 

 

 

 

 Cool Web Sites 

*Warp2Search*

[H]ardOCP

Dailyrotation

Freshnews.org

FreewareFiles

 


 

 
 Software I Use 

 

 

I use True Image 2009

for all my OS backups and Disk Director 11.0 for all my partitioning and dual-boot requirements.

TweakHound

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10% discount!

off Acronis Products.

acronis disk director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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