I am sure most of you will agree that having to format your computer because of viruses, unstable patches, system crashes, etc, is such a great pain, especially if you don’t have separate partitions for system and data files. Even if you keep data and system files separately, having to reinstall all the necessary software to previously running stage is for sure not an easy task. It involves a lot of downloading and installing hot fixes and security updates in Windows. I myself use Windows 2000, and it still takes a long time even though I created a Windows 2000 CD with Service Pack and hotfixes. When the OS is up and running again, you have another hassle in downloading and installing virus definitions and updates for antivirus and security software.

A few months ago, I found a very simple but great tool, and since then it has helped me through many nightmares. With Acronis True Image, I could back up my entire hard disk, C: or D: or whatever you name it. Here are some tips to help you save a lot of headache and time.

  1. Next time if you have to reinstall the operating system, let it be the last time you have to suffer. Install the OS, and then update all the service packs and hot-fixes, until the system is up to date.

  2. Then install other security software such as Norton and McAfee, and update all the virus definitions.

  3. Install MS Office, Adobe Acrobat, Media players, Instant Messengers and all the software which are must-have for you.

  4. Then use a disk imaging software such as Acronis True Image to copy and save the disk image. I’ve tried Norton Ghost but it’s not as simple to use as Acronis. Great things about Acronis are very easy to use and you can create GUI based bootable CD or Floppy which makes disk-imaging and restoring easier beyond your imagination.

  5. Save that image (or) images safely. You can create many CD size images or 1 big image, and then store in CD or DVD. I keep all the images in a separate partition so that I can restore it faster, but even restoring from CD or DVD normally takes less than 30 min, while it would generally take you about a day to install without such disk images.

Now with the help of the images you created, you can relax now. Play around with registry files or whatever you like to the OS and drivers. You can restore everything back within about 30 min. If it’s not great, what is then?

Acronis supports hard disks of any size. You can download Trial Version here. Or purchase here. It is one of the must-have software for me now.

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