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Creating an image of my hard drive

is there any way to create a complete back-up of the computer(including local disk C) so that in case of any formatting we can just revert back to the previous state from the back-up file. I have some applications installed in local disk C and I dont want to install those again after formatting. I have googled a lot and found some softwares like BootMed live CD, but not sure whether it will work or not. Also not sure whether it is possible or not. Someone can help?


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marked as duplicate by Dave, CharlieRB, KronoS, Tog, soandos Jan 7 '13 at 19:36

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

What is wrong with the built in tools? Click start, and type in Backup and Restore. From here you can create a system image disc and a system repair disc. – Dave Jan 7 '13 at 16:20
Check out Creating an image of my hard drive – Dave Jan 7 '13 at 16:23
Also, please see… – Dave Jan 7 '13 at 16:24

Assuming you are using Windows 7

  1. Open the Control Panel (icons view).

  2. Click on the Backup and Restore icon.

  3. Click on the Create a system image link. If prompted by UAC, click on Yes.

  4. Select the location to where you would like to save the backup image at, and click on the Next button. If available, check any additional hard drives or partitions (ex: Vista) that you would like to include in the backup image with the Windows 7 (System and C: ) partition or hard drive, and click on the Next button

  5. Click on the Start backup button

  6. When it is finished you will see this create a System Repair disc pop-up window. Choose what you want to do.

That's it. Copy the image to external media for safe keeping.

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If you can afford to take down the machine in question, you could do what I usuly do. This procedure works for any computer with any operating system:

  1. Boot the machine from any live Linux distribution (DVD or USB)
  2. Attach a portable or network drive to it
  3. Copy the contents of the computer hard drive(s) with a standard tool 'dd' to that drive.

    dd if=/dev/hda of=/network_mount/hda-of-computer-135.img

  4. If you want to backup other harddrives too, repeat the dd command for /dev/hdb and /dev/hdc etc.

  5. detach the drive or network share you have used

Restoring the machine from the "bare metal" state is just a matter of repeating the process with a inverted dd command (note the if and of are inverted blow):

dd of=/dev/hda if=/network_mount/hda-of-computer-135.img

For efficiency the image can be compressed with zip or tar or any other compression tool.

Using a live Linux OS might be unfamiliar to you, but it is free and a very powerful set of tools.

If you need to make images from a working computer then you might to have to look for some virtualization technologies, like VMware or VirtualBox or similar, which have the ability to create a snapshot of a running system. Although this might a bit of an overkill to backup a laptop drive.

For more info see:

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