If you wish to backup all of your programs and settings your only option is to clone (ghost/disc image) your hard drive using Norton Ghost, Norton Save & Restore, Acronis True Image, etc. An external hard drive would make it easier since you wouldn't be as restrained when it comes to capacity, but CDs and DVDs would also be valid options to backup to. It would likely require close to 7 DVDs or 45 CDs since the total capacity must be at least that of all the used space on your hard drive, including your programs, files, and Windows itself. There are compression options to reduce the size of the backups, but it's still a lot of data.
Can you help? I am confused by the various methods of backing up and worried that if I ever do have a hard disc failure, that although I seem to have most files saved on DVD, I may still have a major problem if I don?t also ?Ghost? or ?Disc image? my whole hard drive. I am trying to avoid having to reload all the various software packages and keep all my settings as they are in the event of a catastrophy. I have XP on a Dell 5150 dimension with 145GB HD. 20Gb incl programs. 7Gb data.
Do I also need an external hard drive?