General question about backing up and imaging

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mj0769

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I used to reinstall my O/S (win xp) about every 6 months. It was quicker than hacking through viruses and cpu clutter, but now I have 15-20 app's which I actively use for development. The pc is exactly how I want it (application wise) and reinstalling all this could take hours. I haven't used image tools before so I could use some advice on what kind of backup it creates.

In other words, if I use a tool like Ghost to create a backup to an external drive, can I, at anytime, wipe the master drive clean and get back to where I'm at now, with all the apps installed and ready to go? .. or does it do just an O/S copy? Also, will this enable me to deploy the same image to additional pc's??

Thanks for any insight..
-M
 

fairnooks

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Yes, with a complete partition image you get right back to the point where you made the image of your OS, applications and data.

Some image software has the capability of restoring to additional PCs in "universal" mode wherein the software incorporates the basic hardware interface drivers that differ from the original image, or if you restore to PCs with identical hardware (where it matters), otherwise no, an image is only for the PC it came from.
 

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Allan
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You can restore the PC to the exact state it was in when you made the Image, so yes it will be just as you want it, all Apps, settings, tweaks etc. identical.

You can't usually use an Image from one PC to restore to a second PC.
The source and destination PC's would have to have pretty much identical hardware for it to work.

You can store your Images on an internal hard drive, this is faster and cheaper than an external drive.

There are several commercial programs (Ghost and Acronis True Image are probably the most popular)
Drive Snapshot is another one, it's very good value IMO.
These have the advantage that you can run them from a bootable CD, this means you don't need a working OS to restore the Image.
This is faster and easier than having to install XP first, XP must be on a different partition than the one you want to restore.

There are some free ones too, DriveImage XML is one but it has to be run in XP to restore.
There is a way around this, you can burn an UBCD4Win CD, this includes DriveImage XML (plus a lot of other useful free programs) and is well worth making IMO.
XP runs on the CD so DriveImage XML can also run on the CD and restore an Image to any partition on a HDD.

I'd better stop, this is turning into a book :)
 

mj0769

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Thanks much! That's a huge peace of mind hearing that an image tool does what I was hoping it would do.. Thanks also for the input on deploying. That makes a lot of sense. I used to work in a cube farm and remember the network guys deploying to 100's of pc's.. I hadn't thought about it before.. but in light of what you said, all those workstations were identical. So yeah, I definitely see where you're coming from..

Thanks again!
-M
 
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Acronis is the best. And contrary to popular belief, it is possible to deploy the image to different hardware using Acronis Snap Deploy with Universal Restore. I keep some generic PC images here at work, and use it all the time.
 

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Allan
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@ skinnywhiteboy

Would that be expensive for home use ?
 
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You can't usually use an Image from one PC to restore to a second PC.
The source and destination PC's would have to have pretty much identical hardware for it to work.

Actually you can. Acronis True Image on any version above Home, comes with Universal Restore that will install an image file to foreign hardware perfectly and make all the necessary changes.
 

fairnooks

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expensive for home use ?
About $110 retail (program and plug-in) on the Acronis site.

Acronis True Image on any version above Home, comes with Universal Restore
Actually its a $30 plug-in you have to purchase seperately.

will install an image file to foreign hardware perfectly and make all the necessary changes
Actually it changes just the HAL so that she'll boot up to the installation and then you have to make all the other hardware interface changes as needed.
 

mj0769

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Dec 25, 2007
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Ok, I picked up Acronis True Image Home 11 at Best Buy for $40. The backup was quick and easy. Also, a nice surprise was the compressesion of the backup image to about 10g. I only have about 15g used out of 120g in C:\ capacity anyway, but I had thought it would be a 1:1 ratio copy according to the size of the drive. That was a bonus since I was painfully expecting to drop $120 for a hefty external drive to do both my laptop and my pc.. I easily fit both on a pocket-sized drive I already had. I haven't tried a deployment yet.

Thanks again for the advice and feedback
-M
 
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