Windows – How to image the hard drive for backup? Or do I just need to backup the files


I have never imaged a hard drive, so I don't know how to prepare my system for imaging. Is this the best way to backup? In the past, I've always just kept a copy of my important files on an external drive and in Gmail or DropBox for smaller stuff, but it would be nice to just take one image and restore from that if something ever goes wrong.

I would like to do this for my home and work computers, which are Vista and XP respectively. And actually I'm about to upgrade to Windows 7 at home, so details on that would be appreciated too.

Best Answer

Either way works, it just depends on what you want to do.

I prefer a hybrid approach. Back up your important files to the cloud - Back Blaze, Mozy, Carbonite - and then do an image of the drive.

An image restores all you data and settings - opperating system included. Macrium Reflect or Clonezilla are the more popular free versions. I'm partial to Drive Snapshot.