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How to backup entire "hard disk" with OS on a bootable disk?

by ambrish56 / June 24, 2012 9:37 PM PDT


I've done a fresh install of Windows XP SP-3 followed by installation of device drivers, antivirus and updated my OS to current status.

My 160GB hard disk is 98% empty after all this, that is the space used is less than 4GB. It has no partitions.

I'll be grateful to learn, if I can store this "image" of the hard disk to a bootable DVD and restore the image to its current status without going through the entire fresh re-installation of the OS, Device drivers, antivirus and updating. (The whole process is exhausting - to say the least).

If one has such an disk image on a bootable DVD, the entire system will be restored with minimum fuss and least effort.

Afterall, the empty space of disk is occupied by few Hexadecimal FFs and can be stored in image as one number and multiple thereof to be re-written.

The imaging software, I have come across need an identical disk.

Please let me know how to go about it.

Note - I have tried to explain my problem to the best of my ability. Please ignore errors of language.

ambrish56 has chosen the best answer to their question. View answer
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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by ambrish56

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Acronis is not free!
by ambrish56 / August 1, 2012 1:55 PM PDT

Yes, Acronis can boot and restore HD from the image it created. But, it is not free.

Thanks for replying.

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You have not until now ...
by Edward ODaniel / August 1, 2012 2:44 PM PDT
In reply to: Acronis is not free!

indicated that your bootable image MUST BE FREE.

Acronis is EXCELLENT for what you want and you can find specials on it where you can get it for $25.00

If it MUST be free try Macrium Reflect:

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I apologise for
by ambrish56 / August 4, 2012 6:50 AM PDT

having not indicated that I am looking for Free software.

As suggested I'm going for the Macrium Reflect and will post my feedback ASAP.

Thanks for pointing out the blunder in my text.

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But it does what you ask.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 2, 2012 2:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Acronis is not free!

There are other solutions that almost meet your "spec". Isn't Acronis worth it if it does the job?

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by MarkFlax Forum moderator / June 24, 2012 9:52 PM PDT

Look up in Google or your favored search engine, Slipstream XP.

For example . The article is dated 2008, but the principle and method is the same.

Note though, that they talk about CD and not DVD. I am not sure many older XP systems were able to boot from DVD drives.

Other than that you can do what others here do. Use something like Acronis True Image to create an image file of this fresh install and store that onto some external hard drive, then create a bootable Acronis CD to use to restore the image to a hard drive if needed.

That's what I use for my Windows 7 and I found it very easy. I was fortunate though in that my hard drive maker, Seagate, offers a free download of a licensed version of Acronis True Image which works very well for me.

If you are interested in a command line utility, look up Clonezilla.


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Slipstreamed XP Takes a 45 Minutes
by ambrish56 / July 7, 2012 10:11 PM PDT
In reply to: Slipstreaming?

Thank you MarkLax and R. Proffitt for the suggestion.

I understand that slipstreamed XP takes 45 minutes to set up the system hard disk.

Some years ago, I saw one PC Engineer booted with XP Installation CD and ran a software from pendrive to restore system from the DVD. His process took less than 20 minutes.

I wish I could use free utilities like "Partition Manager" or "ToDo Backup" from EaseUS to do the same job.

If no other option works, I'll go for slipstream XP.

Thanks for your suggestion.

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Nod to first answer.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 25, 2012 3:12 AM PDT

"Acronis True Image to create an image file of this fresh install and store that onto some external hard drive, then create a bootable Acronis CD to use to restore the image to a hard drive if needed."

That's it!

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Another option.
by Kees_B Forum moderator / June 25, 2012 3:37 AM PDT

xxclone from

I use their xxcopy product, and it's excellent. Moreover, with the personal version being free, all you can lose is some time, no money.


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Will Read More on XXCLONE
by ambrish56 / July 7, 2012 9:58 PM PDT

Thank you, Kees_B.

I will read on XXCLONE to know if it can create a system restore bootable DVD as I have in mind.

Thanks again.

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Another opetion

If you want to backup the entire Windows XP "hard disk" with OS on a USB drive, I know some software may help. I'm using Hopedot VOS to backup all my personal PC stuffs, including applications, data and the whole OS. It's actually a virtual OS similar to Windows OS. But it can be installed on a USB drive. And you can access to your personal PC environment on any computers after the USB is plugged in. Hope my answer help.

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Not Just Backup
by ambrish56 / August 1, 2012 1:52 PM PDT
In reply to: Another opetion

Thanks for your reply.

Backing up is not what I am looking for. The back up I am seeking must boot and restore the OS as it was originally. It means I'll have the OS as if I installed from a scratch.

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I use Acronis

I can create images on the media of my choice. Your 4 GB will reside on one blank DVD. Acronis can do that but your used disk space will grow with time but Acronis can span disks. Figure roughly 50% compression with Acronis and some other imaging software. It's not a bad idea to keep a first image but I'd also make additional images as I acquire new software, updates, etc. An extra internal HD and and external as an additional backup source is a good idea. With about 50 gb on my main system (OS and software...not much stored data) Acronis will image the drive in under 10 minutes and restore it in even less time.

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This is Non-commercial Computer
by ambrish56 / August 4, 2012 6:54 AM PDT

Thanks for the reply.

Mine is a home computer used for simple entertainment tasks and web surfing. If I had any commercial use, I'd certainly go for paid software as recommended by CNET users.

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