General Question

pikipupiba's avatar

What is the best way to back up your computer and then restore it to exactly its previous state?

Asked by pikipupiba (1621 points ) August 13th, 2009

My laptop has a dead pixel so I am exchanging it. How do I make the new one EXACTLY like the one I have now?

This includes: installed programs, SDKs, file locations, iTunes Playlists etc.

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10 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

Mac or Windows?

eambos's avatar

You need to make a ghost image of your hard drive.

I’ve read that Acronis True Image and Norton Ghost are great, but neither is free.

I don’t know of any good, free software that images drives.

This is for Windows.

robmandu's avatar

For Mac, there’s:
Carbon Copy Cloner – free until you elect to pay for it whenever.
SuperDuper – not totally free per sé, but it can make a clone of your drive for free.
– Mac OS X’s builtin Disk Utility

For Window’s, I found this page which lists a number of free utilities for cloning and managing drives/partitions.

jrpowell's avatar

On a Mac SuperDuper! is a great option if you have a external drive partitioned as GUID.

robmandu's avatar

I’m with @johnpowell… on the Mac, SuperDuper! is indeed the best of breed. Dead simple and works right every time.

jrpowell's avatar

that reminds me I need to do a back-up. And it is nice to have the option to boot from a external dive.

InspecterJones's avatar

As @eambos mentioned, Acronis will do the job.

You will need Acronis Workstation and once you install it, you run it and in the options you will be able to make an acronis boot disk (this is the thing you actually need not the program).

Once you made it, boot off of the disk and you’ll be able to make an image of your entire computer. You will need an external drive to put the imagine on.

Once you get your new computer, boot off the disk and say you want to restore computer off image.

After its done, you will boot into your exact old computer, pretty neat.

On a side note, the images that acronis creates can be converted into VMs pretty easily using VMWare Converter, pretty neat stuff. Basically, you can take a physical machine and make a virtual version with hardly any work.

If you have any questions feel free to ask, I have extensive experience with this crap from my work.

EDIT: Another thing, Acronis Workstation w/Universal Restore will allow you to restore machines onto ones with completely different hardware, but its not really as simple as it sounds.

pikipupiba's avatar

Sweet guys, thanks a bunch, I will probably look into Acronis. I tell you ow it goes an keep your eyes peeled for more questions (probably in this tread)

drdoombot's avatar

If you’re switching computers, making an image in a another location (backup drive, etc) is the way to go.

If you were staying the same computer, I’d suggest a program called Rollback RX. It’s like the built-in Windows System Restore, except instead of just restoring a few key files here and there, it restores everything. It’s quite amazing.

Bri_L's avatar

Another vote for SuperDuper. it has incrimental as well. .

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