Subscriber Mike Gallagher wrote recently to ask about backing up his computer:
I am confused about "backup" your computer. I see all sorts of ads and articles about backing up a computer. Most all of what I see is not a REAL backup. What I mean as a "real backup" is that if a hard drive crashes — even one with the operating system on it, full recovery can be made. This is true even if the disk crashes with sound, smell, and visual effects included — a head crash resulting is lots of nasty noise, circuit board shorts with sparks and nasty smelling smoke. O.K. you get my point.
If I have a REAL backup, I replace the hard drive, load the backup CD or DVD, boot and start loading all the necessary files onto the new hard drive, remove the backup media, re-boot and am right where I was, running, just before the excitement.
Does such a procedure really exist, or is "backup" just a save application programs, but without all the install and run info? It seems that this is what most backup programs do.
I am looking for a backup program, or whatever term you want to use, that allows me to create a CD / DVD, or set of them that I can recover as described above, without having to go find my original install disks for the operating system and the applications as well.
I am running windows 7, 64 bit, home premium.
Mike’s asking for it — and I’m already using it, as a number of Terry’s Computer Tips readers. The solution is an image backup program called Acronis True Image Home 2011.
You can make your own recovery DVD’s if you like, or save the image as a big file on an external drive, on a computer across your home network, or even on a second physical hard drive in your computer.
While you could save your image backup and subsequent incremental backups on a separate partition on the same hard drive, that would put all your eggs in one basket.
Be sure to create the bootable CD ("Create bootable media"), since you’ll need it (to boot so you can run the recovery program on the CD) if you actually have to replace the drive or restore your C: drive.
You can schedule backups to occur when you want them to occur, and backing up what you want them to back up.
I’ve used Acronis True Image Home for quite a few years — version 7, v9, v10, v11, v2009, v2010 and now v2011. It just keeps getting better.