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Drive image to DVDs and/or bootable partition

I have several program, but which program is the best (xp/vista/win7) for creating a image of your drive on DVDs or creting a bootable partition image.
Obviously you don't want an image of the entire drive, only the "used" areas. Most program I use want to image the entire 250G drive when only 6G is used.

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Comments
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Approximately how much data in GBs are you

trying to back up ?

What CD-DVD software do you use ?

VAPCMD

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Backup image

As noted, only about 6G (basic operating system). I currently have Acronis home. It will make an image and break the images into DVD sizes, but I have to reduce the partition down to 6G, then create the image.
I want a program that will only backup used space.

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Why not use your CD-DVD software authoring

software to create a backup of the specific files to DVDs or a Dual Layer DVD ?

I use Acronis too but most often for discrete 'partition' images vice complete HDD images. Maybe I'll try it to see about selected data backup vice partition or complete drive image backups.

VAPCMD

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Regular 4.7G dvd-r

What I'm doing is providing some of my customer's with a restore image of their OS for quick easy restore.
I create 3 partitions 5-20G depending on the os, one for Recovery, one for data (My documents)
I create an image and put it on the recovery partition (smaller drives I don't do this) and burn to DVDs.
I rather burn the image to DVD directly and skip the partition. This is only available to those that have a DVD-rom. I have a usb DVD burner that I can burn the image to.
I haven't done a lot of image, but every time, the programs want to backup the ENTIRE partition, so it's not pratical. I want to only backup the OS area.

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Might be worth looking at adding a second HDD to the

PCs you're talking about. I put 2 HDDs in all my systems so there's a place to put partition images for my OS and APPs (partition 1 "C") and DATA (partition 1 "D")

Whether you leave them connected and running after you create the images is an option as well. Makes getting up and running pretty easy...even if the primary HDD fails.

VAPCMD

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An image of a 250G drive with only about 6G used

can be approximately 3G in size. They are compressed. The HD of the system I'm using now is 150G with 42 gigs in use. The image I created today occupies 14 gigs of space so it's well under 50% of total space used and less than 10% of the size of the drive. Yet, I can fully restore the HD from this image. You cannot create an image of part of a partition to be used for recovery. The "OS portion" of a drive isn't just the folders it creates but also that which allows the drive to boot. Such is why you create an image of the entire boot partition if you want to be able to recover it from a DVD. Any other method requires a restoration of the partition via some OS installation process with a data recovery step afterward. I use Acronis True Image and I can burn images to DVD but I still need a copy of Acronis to run the recovery portion. I can't, AFAIK, make a DVD that boots and performs a HD recovery on its own, if that's what you are trying to accomplish. Something has to run the recovery operation.

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