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I'm more of a developer, but I have a Dev Environment I'm creating at home for a personal project.

I want to install Server 2008 R2, SharePoint 2010, VS2010, and then take a snapshot of the hard drive, so if I ever nuke the machine I can restore it to this state without having to install OS, Server, VS2010, and then patch the whole thing.

Is there a free software suite that does this? Is it worth it? Or should I get some kind of professional suite?

I don't think this is backup/restore necessarily. What should I do?

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migrated from May 1 '12 at 7:03

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Go virtual. Vmware, for example, will offer all the features you want and some nice extra's. 2 possible scenarios here.

  1. Vmware Workstation, Virtualize on top of a full fletched OS. For more info, look here: Link.
  2. Vmware ESX(i), so you can run VM's on top of a bare metal virtualization platform. More info: Link (free version I think)

Virtualization is however only an option if your machine can handle the load of an extra OS. If not, the only option is to ghost your disk. Clonezilla can clone your whole disk if you want. If you like some more advanced features, have a look at Norton Ghost.

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True. Virtualization will make your life much easier if you have the hardware for it. For simple needs you can even go with free options, like VMware Player, Virtualbox, etc. I personally use Virtualbox quite a lot because it can be fully automated with Vagrant ( – Martijn Heemels May 1 '12 at 0:30

Use the built in Windows Server Backup.

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As others have suggested, virtualization is probably your best bet, as it allows you to do snapshots. By doing snapshots you can roll back changes or even setup a new virtual machine based off an existing configuration.

beecause you specificly stated microsoft applications, you might want to look at HyperV. There is a free version, or it comes with server 2008. EXSI is more enterprisy and is very picky about what hardware it goes on.

A key decision is whether this will be used on an existing machine or a new machine. if a new machine, then you will want something like ESXI/HyperV/Xen since they require blank slate. If an existing machine then Vmware Workstation or Virtualbox are your best options as they run ontop of your existing machine.

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