I know that making a backup of your computer can be a pain, but it’s well worth it! Those of you (like me) have ever had a hard drive fail or have otherwise lost access to your files and didn’t have a recent backup, know this to be true. Backing up used to be extremely painful! Back in the old days, all we had were floppy disks and backup tapes! To backup a 40MB hard drive would take about 28 floppy disks (or more) and hours of sitting at the computer swapping disks.
Now, I’ve got a 300GB external hard drive that I use for backup purposes. I had been using Norton Ghost on my desktop computer and just copying files from my old notebook computer. Ghost is a great program, but there are some things I don’t like about it. #1 It’s expensive! I think it’s around $70 or $80 to buy it. #2 you can only use it on one computer. When I buy software, I normally buy one copy and install it on my desktop and notebook computers. I know that technically, I am supposed to buy 2 copies, but I really don’t see what the harm is. Most individual people do this as well. With Norton Ghost, you can do this because the program has to be activated on your computer. After you do this, if you install it on another computer, you have to activate it on that one too, but they won’t let you do it.
I came across another program recently and decided to give it a try. It’s called DriveImage XML. Like Ghost, it allows you to create an image of an entire hard drive on another hard drive. Also, it allows you to later explore that image so you can restore just certain files if you want. I tried it a couple of nights ago and it seemed to work great! Another really cool thing about it is that for individuals (not businesses), it’s FREE!
I started it up on my new Toshiba notebook and let it run. Less than 2 hours later, my computer was completely backed up. I didn’t try to restore anything yet, but I was able to explore the backup and see the individual files. I’ll try restoring some files this weekend.
The only thing that annoyed me was that because I was using Windows Vista, in order to do the backup, I had to temporarily turn off the User Access Control feature. DriveImage XML tells you that you need to do this. It was a pain in the *you know what*, but it’s just a minor thing. I won’t be using it to do scheduled backups, however, because running without the User Access Control can be dangerous. I like its protection.
At any rate, this looks like it might be a goodd solution.