Backup entire laptop

  alfablue 10:29 18 Nov 2005

I need to send my Vaio VGN-S2XP laptop back to Sonyt for repair,it looks like the ATI Radeon Mobility card has expired. I have to use the system restore disks before I send it to ensure it is a hardware rather than a software problem.

Doing so will lose all my data and software installations. I have a networked desktop with loads of HD space. What is the simplkest way to back up the whole pc so I can reinstall everything as it was? I have Easybackitup software, or I could just copy files and folders, but presumably copying everything back afterwards wont work because of the registry, and if I reformat the HD and copy to DOS that will probably be problematic too.

Any ideas would be much appreciated.

Many thanks


  alfablue 10:37 18 Nov 2005

just to add, both PC's run Windows XP SP2

  keewaa 10:48 18 Nov 2005

It would be nice if Windows vista had backup options, like save all : files, emails, favourites, settings .... so you could manually pick what you want saved.

I manually pick out from the C:\documents and settings folder for the various users what I want. You can just copy the whole documents and settings folder which will back up all your user files, but this ends up being alot larger than what you really want, but it does guarantee you have all the files, favourites, emails, settings.

As for software, you'll just have to reinstall it all again, since if you take an image using acronis, then it won't help you if the problem turned out to be a software problem, beacuse restoring the image will just make the problem re-appear.

  alfablue 10:54 18 Nov 2005

Hi Keewaa

Thanks for this. I already backup data every day from my documents etc. It was really just the software. I see the problem about restoring software may reintroduce the issue, but if it is hardware rather than software then I should be okay, so its worth a punt. I am unfamiliar with Acronis - do you reccomend this? Any other suitable candidates?

Thanks again


  keewaa 10:56 18 Nov 2005

Sorry, I'm not familiar with it but hear it mentioned often as the one to use for creating an image as it's free & reliable.

You'll have to wait for someone to advise you on how to use it for this.

  Daibus 11:18 18 Nov 2005

I have installed Acronis True Image Backup which I find excellent and I never really succeeded with other software that I tried. Acronis is a programme that is always recommended and so far my Backups to an External USB Drive have been without any problems.

You can download a trial version from click here to see if you like it.

  rawprawn 11:46 18 Nov 2005

I swear by it, I has saved my bacon on many occasions.

  alfablue 15:18 18 Nov 2005

Thanks rawprawn. I have downloaded the trial, I know it may become obvious in use, but I am in a hurry to do the backup, can I ask if the trial version will let me do this, or is it best just to buy the full version?

Many thanks


  rawprawn 16:06 18 Nov 2005

As far as I know you can backup on the trial version, but I am not sure you can recover until you have paid. It's a long time since I bought mine and I can't really remember. If it's important I would recomend buying it now, but that's up to you.

  alfablue 14:08 19 Nov 2005

hi rawprawn

I have made the disc image (took 6 hours :)

I am wondering - when I restore it to the laptop (that has been restored to the factory configuration) doe this work within windows? I am wondering if this is possible as it will be writing to all the disc partitions. Also, will I be able to run it from my hard drive caddy to the USB port? (presumably not if it has to be done in DOS)

  stylehurst 14:14 19 Nov 2005

Provided you make a star up disk you will be able to restore your partitions; even if you want to restore from a HDD caddy.
It's such a good program which has saved my bacon on more than one occasion that I would suggest you purchase a copy rather than rely on the free trial.

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