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imaging/cloning program

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Hi everybody.
I could use a little guidance with this topic.
There are all different kinds of programs out there and with the descriptions the companies give of the ability of their programs, I find myself not sure of what it is I need.

I'm disabled and am slooowly learning about pcs.
I need to be able to backup my files.
But I also need to be able to switch to a different hard drive and run the pc or be able to insert a cd/dvd and have the os on the media take over for a corrupt os.
And restoring/snapshots would be nice since xp's restore doesn't ever seem to work properly.
I have very limited knowledge in this area.
I think what I'm looking for is the ability to install the os and files, drivers, code etc in a sector by sector fashion and be able to boot the pc but don't know if I'm right about this.
Which of the many programs is easiest most reliable so that I don't lose what I've got.
Thanks for any help.
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Hi ist42day, and welcome to Geeks2Go!
If you want to be able to back up your entire system drive or partition (usually that's the 'C' drive) including Windows and everything else that's on it, and then be able to 'restore' that partition quickly & with the minimum of fuss, then you need a 'disk imaging' or 'disk cloning' application.
I use one myself and wouldn't be without it -- mine is 'Norton Ghost' by Symantec, before which I used 'TrueImage' by Acronis. Both work on the same principal, copying an entire partition. You must, however, have a second partition (on the same drive or a different drive) large enough to accomodate the image file. Norton Ghost can also write directly to CD/DVD if you don't have anywhere else to write it to, or if you want to play it safe by having two copies of the image on two different mediums.

Norton Ghost: http://www.symantec....mp;pvid=ghost14
Acronis TrueImage: http://www.acronis.c...ucts/trueimage/
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