By a deliberate choice, I am continuing to run XP on my home PC. As that gets further and further out of date, I worry increasingly about my ability to recover from a system failure. I regularly back up all of my user generated data files to several external devices, so I am not worried about the loss of those.

What I would like to know how to do is to back up the system itself, so that I can restore that after rebooting from an XP CD. I run ntbackup.exe at least weekly (including System State), also to external devices; is that adequate?

Running ntbackup.exe with "Back up everything on this computer" selected tries to back up, well, EVERYTHING, connected to my computer, including all of the data backup folders (including those for my wife's computer) that I really don't need and that take up many hundred GB of space that I don't have available.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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    "how to do is to back up the system itself" - Create an image of the HDD by using third-party software that supports Windows XP. – Ramhound Jan 11 '17 at 15:13
  • ...and test it works. – Tetsujin Jan 11 '17 at 15:15
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    There's very little that would definitely work on XP, and I've not really had much luck with ntbackup back in the day. And whatever you use, totally test it. Would a bootable non native option be acceptable? – Journeyman Geek Jan 12 '17 at 11:24
  • dd if=/dev/sda of=some-file from a Linux live CD..? – allquixotic Jan 12 '17 at 13:41

Take an image of the c-drive to a diferent drive (eg d:) using eg acronis true image. This will product a file on your d-drive which you can restore to your c-drive anytime. In order to take the image you boot your pc from the acronis CD and choose 'backup'.


I suggest you use a Clonezilla live CD. It's very easy to use and reliable. As it runs as a live CD, XP support is irrelevant - it just creates an image of whatever drive or partition you select.

  • This is what I think is the sensible option. It doesn't have some of the nice things that a windows centric backup option has, like filebrowsing, but is about as universal as you'd get – Journeyman Geek Jan 12 '17 at 13:47
  • I took file browsing to be unrequired as the OP is only looking for a system level backup. – Darren Jan 12 '17 at 14:01
  • Thank you, @Darren. I have been following up on your suggestion and managed to create the desired image this morning. – hbfrench Jan 20 '17 at 19:29

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