I use WinPE (Windows Preinstall Environment). It creates a *.WIM
I have created a 'WIM' Windows Image of my dual boot system. It works
well for XP and Vista. It is the system that companies like Dell etc
use on their recovery partitions. It can also be put onto a DVD/USB
hard drive etc with your backup image of your operating system for
I have two images, of each OS so far: The first is the initial
activated install, plus any Windows updates available at the time. The
second image I did two months later and also has Office 2007, any
further updates, plus a few other things like Nero etc. I will create
another image in a few months if I install any more software or if
there is too many more updates - so it is kind of like a snapshot of my
c:\ & d:\ (XP & Vista) drives. It means that it only takes about 10
minutes (honestly - 10 minutes) to get back to a fully working version
of Vista (or XP or any OS).
I don't use WinPE to back up my Documents / Favorites / Music / Email /
etc / anything that is MY data - I have moved the all of that stuff to a
third partition, so I can share it all with both my XP boot and my Vista
boot. Plus this means I don't have to backup OS very often, once maybe
twice a year. It depends on what I install and how many Windows
updates there are.
One of my jobs is a tester at a software company and I have to test
software on virgin installs of XP and Vista. WinPE is the fastest and
most reliable software I could use. Which is why PC manufacturers use
it for their recovery partitions. If I am testing on any of the Win9x
I have to use Ghost and it takes forever and they are only small OS's!
The current versions of Ghost make a backup of the operating system
that it is running on! Which worries me a little for reliability (yes
I know that it has been fully tested and thousands of people use it but
it is not for me). Although, that said, it was VERY EASY to USE and can
to incremental backups. I did a lot of research on this a year or so
ago, but at the time no-one could answer whether you could make the
backup using Ghost 10 bootable. I found plenty on how to make Ghost 9
backup image bootable. It isn't as fast as WinPE either.
I hope that you find some of this information useful.
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