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Want to create a system image
Windows backup by Imaging

I'm about to send a new laptop to my mom with the router pre-configured to work with the laptop. I live 1000 miles away so any support I'd need to give would be remote.

I intend to install Logmein so I can check on anti-virus and other issues.

However, if she royally screws it up, I'd like to create a custom restore dvd which will re-image the computer with as little hassle as possible and keep her router settings and such. It needs to be brain dead simple for her to process.

What do you recommend to create such a custom boot dvd? Acronis?

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marked as duplicate by Sathya, random Sep 6 '10 at 21:32

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Check out: [Want to create a system image ](superuser.com/questions/92224/want-to-create-a-system-image) On a related note, How do I make my Mom's pc bullet proof ? –  Sathya Sep 5 '10 at 19:56
    
I don't think you're giving your mom enough credit. I gave mine a laptop for Christmas last year (my mom had never before touched a computer) and she's fine with it. Email and light web ssurfing to her favorite online stores and that's it. She doesn't go near anything that might cause problems with the setup. When she and my dad went to their summer home, I talked her through the wireless setup without problem. Your mom will do fine and she'll be happy to be able to get/send pictures of the grandkids. :) –  BillP3rd Sep 5 '10 at 20:06
    
Bill, want to trade moms? I gave my mom a new desktop computer 4 years ago and it sat in dust for two of those years because she was afraid to touch it. She called me last week to tell me that the keyboard and mouse "stopped working." This is very unlikely because they were both wired. No amount of cajoling could talk her through fixing the problem over the phone. I really need to bullet proof any software problems I can. –  DavidStein Sep 5 '10 at 20:12
    
Well, I guess restricting her to the Guest account would do it. –  BillP3rd Sep 5 '10 at 20:53
    
Friends, whether or not you like Apple, I submit to you that the iPad is the best Mom-proof "laptop" on the market today. It's almost frightening how empowering these things are for technophobes. No system maintenance required, no malware, insanely easy app installs. Pity they don't run Flash, but they seem to have the mindshare to convince most popular sites to create custom apps or do HTML5 video w/ H.264. It's also too bad you need a PC or Mac to sync them to for backups and OS upgrades. But it's definitely the platform to watch for the "email and web surfing" set. –  Spiff Sep 6 '10 at 7:12
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Acronis is quite capable of such a task, but I'm afraid even that might be too technical for non-savvy users.

What's never failed for me is good old Deep Freeze (well, at least since deep unfreezer stopped being developed =)). It isn't free ($45.00), but it will save you many headaches and late night calls dealing with computer problems. The software is extremely flexible in what is protected and very easy to use. Every school I've been to has sworn by this software as well.

If you aren't familiar with the software, in a nutshell it will revert all changes to a system with a simple reboot. Of course, these reverts depend on the areas you specified, but it simplifies a lot of it for you.

If your Mom isn't yet familiar with Windows 7, you could also consider Windows XP and SteadyState (a free alternative to Deep Freeze). Although XP is old, a lot of parent's I've dealt with are resistant to change and are more comfortable with the environment, so if it work's for them and saves you problems, questions, and money, I'd be all for it.

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I used to use SteadyState for this purpose. It makes the laptop very slow and it can be more hassle than it's worth. I find Rescue and Recovery on ThinkPad laptops to be the best solution now. –  paradroid Sep 5 '10 at 20:53
    
@jason I've never had a similar experience with steadystate, maybe you installed it on a slow laptop to begin with. I put it on a thinkpad and prefer it to R&R 10:1. –  John T Sep 5 '10 at 23:44
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