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I want to take apart my desktop, but I am too lazy to go through five hard drives to backup.

Is there a way for me to just turn them all into an image, so I can put all the images on my 2TB hard drive? This way, I can mount it at any time and back it up in the future.

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What OS are you planning on using? –  jwernerny Sep 20 '11 at 1:42
    
Windows 7 64 bit –  Doug Sep 20 '11 at 14:25

4 Answers 4

I haven't used it, but I think Disk2VHD might be what you need.

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This is what I would do. VHDs can be natively mounted inside Windows 7. They can even be used to BOOT Windows 7. Awesomeness. –  sinni800 Nov 3 '11 at 13:59

Disk2vhd allows you to capture volumes to .vhd files:

Disk2vhd is a utility that creates VHD (Virtual Hard Disk - Microsoft's Virtual Machine disk format) versions of physical disks for use in Microsoft Virtual PC or Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs).

The difference between Disk2vhd and other physical-to-virtual tools is that you can run Disk2vhd on a system that’s online. Disk2vhd uses Windows' Volume Snapshot capability, introduced in Windows XP, to create consistent point-in-time snapshots of the volumes you want to include in a conversion. You can even have Disk2vhd create the VHDs on local volumes, even ones being converted (though performance is better when the VHD is on a disk different than ones being converted).

The Disk2vhd user interface lists the volumes present on the system:

enter image description here

It will create one VHD for each disk on which selected volumes reside. It preserves the partitioning information of the disk, but only copies the data contents for volumes on the disk that are selected. This enables you to capture just system volumes and exclude data volumes, for example.

You can attach these VHDs to the Disk Manager, you can in fact even boot from them in some condition.

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As you didn't mention the OS, I would suggest the tool dd. But be aware that you have to be careful about the parameters. You just type

dd if=/dev/<source partition> of=/media/<your_usbdisk>/foo1.img bs=64k

and get a dump of the said file system in the said file.

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You'll need a sudo though. –  Mechanical snail Oct 11 '11 at 4:20

I use ImDisk. It's tiny, simple, and 64-bit drivers are digitally signed with a certificate trusted by Microsoft. You can make an image then mount it again in RO or RW mode.

ImDisk is a virtual disk driver for Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008. It can create virtual hard disk, floppy or CD/DVD drives using image files or system memory. The install package installs a console-mode control program called imdisk.exe and a Control Panel applet. After install is finished, type imdisk without parameters for syntax help or double click the ImDisk icon in the Control Panel. It also adds a menu item in Windows Explorer so that you can right-click on a file to mount it as a virtual disk drive. Users of mdconfig in FreeBSD will probably be familiar with the command line syntax of imdisk.exe. The driver, service and control program can be uninstalled using the Add/Remove programs applet in the Control Panel. No reboot is required for installing or uninstalling.

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