The computer that you use has a hard drive in it, which stores everything that you put on it, plus all the settings that you prefer. You can then imagine how difficult it would be if you were to lose all of your data and have to set everything back up again. That is why a full hard drive backup is the preferred method of data backup, because every last bit of data is stored and not even your daylight savings time preference will be forgotten. There are many ways to make a perfect mirror image of your hard drive, and some are better then others. Let's talk about the various strategies and find out what will best suit you.
The first way to make a perfect copy of your hard drive, quickly and seamlessly, is to use good hard drive image software. A great example of this type of software is True Image from Acronis
, which is complete imaging software that helps anyone make a perfect image of their hard drive and save it anywhere, even the hard drive if they want to. Of course there are also many other types of software on the market, and all are just as unique too. Just be sure to choose a good one, because if you don't, it could end up being the biggest mistake you ever made on your computer.
If you are a little more technically inclined, and have some knowledge of installing computer parts, then you could always use the RAID method. RAID, which stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, requires you to install another new hard drive and can be used to make a perfect mirror image of your current hard drive, which will always be up to date by the second. There are many different levels to RAID, but if you were using it for hard drive backup purposes, you would use level 1. Level one is called disk mirroring or duplexing, and this level will write data to both hard drives simultaneously, so when something happens to one there will always be the other one to fall back on.
The final way to make a copy of your hard drive is to backup everything individually yourself. This is of course the hardest and most time consuming strategy, but is preferred by some experts, because you can choose what to save. If you do use this method, you need to make sure you back up your registry files, system files and other important files and folders that you have. You might also want to save your entire software program folders, as they might contain important data related to the program that you want to definitely save. If you are using Windows XP
, there is a backup utility that you can use for free, located in your "System tools
" folder. Go there by clicking "Start" on your bottom toolbar, then go to "All Programs", and then "Accessories". You should now see a folder labeled "System tools" and once that is open, click on the "Backup" program.
Now that you have gotten some ideas on how to create a perfect backup of your hard drive, you should know where to save that backup. There is always the option to save your hard drive image backup on the hard drive itself, but most likely this will not work for everyone because of space limitations. Also, if the hard drive should be literally destroyed by a fire, tornado or some other act of nature, then the backup would be destroyed with it. That is why I recommend backups, especially hard drive images, be stored on a DVD-R, external hard drive or a device like a Zip drive. Then just be sure to backup once every week, or month, and store the backup in a secure location. Now you have a perfect copy of ALL of your data, and it is secure from this dangerous world.