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How to keep images of my system in a fresh state and backups of my data. Instead of using antivirus i need to reload the system every 3-6 months to keep it fresh and snappy.

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The typical software to create disk images is Norton Ghost. However, there are several alternatives; Clonezilla is a free alternative, but may not be as user friendly as others.

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Is there any tutorial abt how to use Norton Ghost..Is it freeware? – bala3569 Dec 27 '10 at 11:18
Norton Ghost is not freeware. Its price depends on the number and type of licenses you need. – oKtosiTe Dec 27 '10 at 12:57
A "home edition" also exist if you intend to use it on only one computer at home. The manual for that can be found here. – oKtosiTe Dec 27 '10 at 13:03
@oKtosiTe:Is there any other freeware software available – bala3569 Dec 27 '10 at 13:05
Clonezilla was already mentioned. Personally I triple boot, so I make a full image backup of my Windows XP partition from Linux every now and then. The facilities for live cloning are quite limited in XP–it's one of the big features in Windows 7–so I don't think you have that many options. – oKtosiTe Dec 27 '10 at 13:10

DriveImage XML is an excellent free alternative to Norton Ghost. give it a try!

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A basic system for you would be to:

  1. Make one image after you have set it up as you want and before any virus can get on to the computer. Backup the image to a USB/CD-DVDs/different drive then label the folder with the date and leave until a restore is required.
  2. Set the differential backup schedule (daily if desired) and backup at least to a different partition. You should backup to a USB, etc. once a week, just in case. You can use Windows/NT backup for this part.
  3. Clean backups with CD anti-virus before the restore as they will be infected. The restore image I would use is Macrium Reflect™ Free Edition. It also creates a bootable rescue CD to help. It comes with a good help/instructions file.

List of other good backup systems:

Norton/ Acronis True image/ etc

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