The easy way to create an image is simply install Acronis True Image Home 2010 (cost around $50.00) and use the “One Click Backup” (Note: I haved used all types of imaging products and this is my current favorite – all imaging programs have pro’s and con’s). This will create a secure recovery partition with enough space for the operating system partition by resizing the system (boot) partition and using the recovered space . The Acronis Secure Zone can be placed on any drive on your system and they work well just make sure to allow enough space for at least 6 generations of COMPLETE images not incremental. If you have an external drive Acronis will place the image there . Always place the image on a EXTERNAL drive or secondary internal drive. Nothing like having a backup of your drive located on the same drive when the hardware fails. This is not the method I recommend since you really do not know what is going on however, if you are in a hurry like most people it will work however, you are not learning anything this way. You also pass up all the robust advanced features of this program since must of us will not spend anymore time then we have to. This is the url to the proper Acronis product page: http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/
My recommended method:
1-Take a look at the drive and partition layout using the disk management or a partition tool. We can see that are three large partitions C=boot, E=Pagefile and F=data (on the sample drive). The letters and sizes may be different on your system. If you only have one partition (disk) shown add a external USB or FW1394 drive at least 160GB in size (you will be given one in class). If you want to you can add a secure recovery partition with the tools menu however, I do not advise it. If you only have one partition (drive) you can do a rezise in Vista or Windows 7 though XP requires partitioning software to do this. I suggest you place the initial image on an external drive. After this is done you can do a recover from the external drive to the internal drive and re-size at the same time eliminating the cost of the partitioning software ( I will get into this later). NOTE: I store a copy of the current image on one of the non boot partitions that has enough space on my computer incase I am in the field and forget my external drive.
2-Start up the Acronis True Image Home 2010 and select the Backup/Backup Center option.
3-At the next screen select C=Boot for your choice. (if for some reason your drive layout is different then above the Acronis program will find the current boot partition and place a check mark next to it. (it will be marked with a green star)
4- I always select the first option “Create new backup archive” this will overwrite the last one if you keep the same name or you can rename it. The program will assign a name for you automatically if you chose. The reason I choose create new image each time is that incremental images need to have all the parts in order to recreate a drive. Granted this saves space however, it is not uncommon to find you are missing a part (or corruption has occurred) and you can not recover. Anyway disk space is very inexpensive nowadays. There are many other options that you can configure however, for now we will leave those for the actual class.
5- Once the operation has begun a status window will show up and away you go. You may run into scenarios were the program will tell you it has to reboot to preform the image just follow the screen and you will be led through the process.
6- In the Tasks & Log area you can setup the schedule you want to run the image on.
7- The schedule you chose and the options are up to you. You must remember that once a schedule is set you really will not even be aware that it is running so manually check your results once and a while . I place a reminder in my Outlook calendar.
8- Before I cover the recovery process go to the Tools & Utilities menu and add the Acronis Start up Recovery Manager. This utility installs a program that runs at boot and allows you to run a version of Acronis that does not use the Windows operating system. This is invaluable if you have a failure and you do not have a Acronis recovery cd with you since it preforms the same functions.
9- This is the recovery manager prompt you will see at boot. Just press the F11 key and Acronis will start to run outside of windows.
10- Once the recovery manager starts you will see this screen the top choice is what you want to select.
11- From here on the recovery process is identical whether you are in the pre-boot version or the version that runs in windows.
12- When you select Recovery the program will load information on all available images that can be found. If you did not have your external drive attached you should exit the program and install your external drive and restart Acronis.
13- In this sample we will select the only available backup from the archive list.
14- From the recovery method menu choose the first option
15- Select the partition with green star that has the “Flags” set to “Pri,Act” (primary active) also select the MBR this contains boot, partition and drive information .
16- Just accept the defaults at this point unless you know what you are doing. The settings on this page allow you to change location of recovered image make it active or not and change size (this option is useful see next screen).
17- This is were you can change the partition size. An example of why you would want to do this. Let’s assume you have one 160GB drive in your computer and it has one partiton as when you bought it, everything dumped in one place is a bad idea if you loose your operating system you also loose your data. You can create new partition layout without have a partition program as in lesson two. My rule of thumb is 10-20% operation system, 10% for temp and the balance data. If you have 160GB drive allow 30GB for the operating system and 130GB for data. You add the temp area after you are up and running use the internal disk manager to recover the a small amount for the temporary file area. (more on this in the class)
18- You are now ready to go. Take the settings as above. I always recover the signature for saftey if you do not you do this your system may loose important information related to the operating system and have problems restarting windows since it will assume a conflict of disk ID. (more in class)
19- At this point you are ready to run just select proceed. The time it takes can very drastically depending of drive size , partition re-arrangement and reboot. Just watch the screen and go and do something else.
20- Last are all the special options which invaluable however, there is no time for this now. (We will cover in full detail in the class)