IT support, disc back up...


Formerly known as "nachoman"
Just spent the last couple of weeks getting my new laptop set up just how I like (big thumbs up for Windows 7, by the way). I've got access to a vast external hard drive and want to back up the whole shebang in it's current state in case of emergency. Also on account of not having a Windows 7 disc to reinstall if I've ever got to reformat my hard drive.
I'm informed at doing a 'copy/paste' of the C drive isn't the way to proceed and there are various programs to copy in a form which can then be reloaded is- heaven forbid- neccessery. Has anyone any experience of doing this?


ex Landrover Nut
Soone or later you're going to need that Win 7 Disk. Best chase it while you still can.

Trouble with backupsof the OS is there's no real way of testing it unless you have another disk to put in your machine.... Otherwise if you restore and it doesn't work, you've overwritten the good copy... :w00t:

I've a copy of Driveimage, which works for XP. It seems straightforward enough. Haven't looked at moe recent versions for Win 7 - I'm staying on XP until I'm foced off it. And then I may go Linux, not sure.

There are some open source backup packages, but it's unclear to me how well they handle Win backups, especially Win 7 - probably a bit too early for reliable OS backups there...


Copy & paste won't work because certain data needs to go in specific places on the disk and copy & paste won't do that. Also you need some form of recovering the data if the hard drive fails and the laptop won't boot.

So you need recovery software which includes drive imaging where the existing disk is copied 'as is' rather than just the data being copied.

There is various recovery software out there and for starters I suggest you have a look here but make sure it will work with Win7 and I would also have a look in the user forums in case users have found problems.

One of the popular disk imaging packages was 'Ghost' but it does not seem as popular as it used to be.

Personally I have Acronis installed but I cannot vouch for how good it is as , touch wood, I have not had to recover my system ........YET >:)

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
You should be able to slipstream yourself a boot disk from your OS. This will give you a disk you can repair the boot sector from if it all goes wrong, or reinstall if (when) your HD crashes. For making an image you can use on your new hard drive, I have used the Acronis TrueImage in Vista and XP successfully and easily, when my old IBM and my wife's new HP crashed.


Well-Known Member
Morgan's right, lurking somewhere in the Control Panel there's an option to do this.

Alternatively, there's a company called Lenovo who do a utility to create a copy of all your settings for recovery, and I know they have released a Windows 7 update.

If you've really spent ages on setting your laptop up you might want to borrow an old scrap laptop and test your restore on that. You will need a Windows 7 disk at some point, though, in case you ever need to do a full clean restore (new HDD scenario). Your vendor should have supplied one and if you ask them now they are really obliged to let you have a copy. If you're running a Beta verson of 7 you won't have a disk. If that's the case, drop me a PM.


half diminished

Senior Member

I think there are two options you should consider or maybe both:

  • Create a startup/boot disk - System recovery options can help you repair Windows if a serious error occurs. To use system recovery options, you'll need a Windows installation disc or access to the recovery options provided by your computer manufacturer. If you don't have either of those choices, you can create a system repair disc to access system recovery options.

  • Create a system image. You can create a system image, which contains a copy of Windows and copies of your programs, system settings, and files. The system image is then stored in a separate location from the original programs, settings, and files. You can use this image to restore the contents of your computer if your hard disk or entire computer ever stops working.

    If you're using Windows Backup to back up your files, you can have a system image created each time your files are backed up. By default, this system image only includes the drives required for Windows to run.

Or you could just get a mac :)

old git

Tremendous Bore
Yes, but from what you've told us that seems to result in a severe domestic disturbance:D

In my case there was no domestic disturbance but I was very stern with myself and will continue to be. It's the Celtic way.

half diminished

Senior Member
Yes, but from what you've told us that seems to result in a severe domestic disturbance:D

Hmm...... still don't got one and it's causing some issues as I am out of HDD space so I have decimated my iTunes data to get me by. :(

Only cloud on the horizon is that Apple look like they have an event/announcement on 27th January that may lead to new updated spec Mac Pros at the same or even lower cost so I could end up with a higher spec or an 'old' model at a lower price. But time is pressing on and I can't wait much longer.

I have a new 'you can have it date' - half term mid February though I'm not convinced. I may just sell my R&C saxello and some of my OM and Leica film gear and some other odds and sods that I intend to sell anyway which will more than finance the impending purchase.

We shall see. Oh and thanks for bringing it up again mate!
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