How do I back up my system to a mobile (external) hard disk, and then recover from it when necessary?
I'm using windows XP
Also, does most ghost software back up only
C: or all disks?
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For an excellent, easy to use interface, I highly recommend Easeus Todo Backup. You can make backup images of all of your drives and save them to your external hard drive very easily. Depending on how damaged the system is, you may need to make a bootable disk.
The method to create a bootable disk is outlined in Easeus' article, How to Restore System after Crash?
Best of all, Todo Backup is free.
An alternative to windows backup would be one of the tools like SecondCopy that will copy your data directories to the external drive.
EDIT: SyncBack is one that I hear mentioned a lot, they have a free version. There's also rsync if you're from a Unix background, or Robocopy if you want something direct from Microsoft.