Futurepower(R) asks: "Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP have crippled file systems. The file system cannot copy some of the files that are necessary to the operating system. If you don't have experience with Microsoft operating systems, you may find this amazing, but it is true; Microsoft supplies no method of backing up and restoring fully operational copies of Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Microsoft's advice is to reinstall the operating system and all programs every time you want to move to a new or backup computer. For confirmation of this, see the 'Microsoft Policy Statement' in the article, The Microsoft Policy Concerning Disk Duplication of Windows XP Installations. Many industries use numerous programs; installing them all may take a week or even more. All of the disk image duplication programs I've used have problems, in my experience. What program do you use? What has been your experience with it? Can you recommend a program, or recommend staying away from one?"
"This policy of providing no way to backup and restore a fully installed system is impossible for corporations, of course. So Microsoft technical support representatives recommend sector-by-sector disk image duplication,
even though it is against Microsoft policy. Copying each sector of a hard drive bypasses Microsoft's copy protection by which Microsoft punishes all users, even if they are honest.
Sometimes Microsoft technical support recommends using 'third-party' disk image programs. For example, sometimes support representatives recommend using Symantec Ghost.
All of the disk image duplication programs I've used have problems, in my experience. So, here's a question: What program do you use? What has been your experience with it? Can you recommend a program, or recommend staying away from one?
Here are my experiences:
Symantec Ghost sometimes fails with non-specific error messages. Uninstalling Ghost does not uninstall all the Ghost software. Symantec is one of the companies using copy protection, so using Symantec products may be a case of jumping from the Microsoft frying pan to the Symantec copy protection fire; also, you have no assurance that the copy protection will not become worse in the future.
PowerQuest DriveImage and DeployCenter have an uncertain future. PowerQuest was bought by Symantec. This was after PowerQuest released DriveImage 7 with problems. The sale cannot be a happy event for those who spent hundreds of dollars on DeployCenter.
I've tried Acronis True Image. I've had better luck with it than with Symantec or PowerQuest products. However, like the others, it sometime gives non-specific error messages that say something like, 'I've failed, and I'm not going to tell you how to troubleshoot the problem.'
Fred Langa, publisher of LangaList, recommends BootIt. I have no experience with it.
I haven't tried g4u, free, open source software provided under the BSD license g4u has the drawback that it writes only through FTP. There is no way to write to a network drive or a CD-R.
It's disgusting; people just want to make functional backups, but to do it they are dragged over the coals."