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I have a netbook that has two partitions. A first one where I have all my programs and stuff and a second one that came with the netbook and has the data so I can restore my computer if I need to. Now, as I had problems in the past with other computers that had a similar restore scheme, I know I must in some way do a backup of this partition, so if there is any problem I can put everything working again.

How should I proceed? As this is a netbook, it doesn't have a CD reader. Maybe doing a backup of this partition to a 12GB(it seems this partition occupies this much!) usb? How could I do it?


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up vote 1 down vote accepted

While you can use a program such as DriveImage XML to create a backup without CDROM or DVD drive, it doesn't do you much good when push comes to shove and you'll have to restore the image in case the system doesn't boot anymore (which IMHO is the whole idea of having a drive backup). Furthermore, too many things can go wrong with 'hot imaging', i much prefer backing up a 'cold' system.

I suggest, you create a BartPE CD with EASEUS ToDo Backup. Here is a tutorial how to integrate ToDo Backup as plugin into BartPE. Then use WinToFlash to create a bootable USB stick or SD(HC) card from your BartPE CD. (these are all free programs by the way).

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If you like DIXML better, Runtime offers a BartPE plugin as well.

Now boot from USB and clone the entire drive or the partitions separately.

If the system doesn't boot anymore or if you have to replace the HDD you can always restore the drive with your BartPE USB drive.

Of course, WinToFlash comes in handy if you ever want to re-install Windows without CDROM drive.

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Judging by your other questions I'll guess you're on Windows, correct me if I am wrong.

You can use DriveImage XML to back up a single partition. You do not need a CD drive, as the program uses Microsoft's Volume Shadow Services (VSS) to write the images to XML files which you can put on your USB drive.

DriveImage XML is an easy to use and reliable program for imaging and backing up partitions and logical drives.

Image creation uses Microsoft's Volume Shadow Services (VSS), allowing you to create safe "hot images" even from drives currently in use. Images are stored in XML files, allowing you to process them with 3rd party tools. Never again be stuck with a useless backup! Restore images to drives without having to reboot. DriveImage XML is now faster than ever, offering two different compression levels.

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The private edition of DriveImage XML is free for personal use. It is compatible with Windows XP, 2003, Vista, or Windows 7.

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You can use a USB drive as both a boot device and as a backup medium, if your computer does support boot from USB. Check the BIOS section on boot device priority and see if USB is one of the devices. When restoring the backup you'll need to move the USB up in the priority list for the duration of the emergency.

Although several freeware products are available for disk imaging, I believe that Acronis True Image Home is worth the money ($49.99). Acronis also has a new product called True Image Home 2010 Netbook Edition ($29.99) that's worth looking into.

Information about how to create an Acronis boot USB is found in Creating Acronis Bootable Media on a USB Flash Drive. The process that's described there in great detail can probably be generalized to other disk-imaging products.

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