Windows XP System Restore does not preclude making backups
Hard Disk Imagers / Cloners
Imaging means creating a backup file set of the hard disk or volume. You can store several Image Sets on the same destination hard disk. You need to have prepared the destination hard disk with a filesystem. Some of the software allows compression of the destination file set to save space.
Cloning means to take two hard hard disks and make a 100% copy of the source to the destination hard disk. You do not need to prepare the destination hard disk. Depending on the software, you can have different sized hard disks, the destination size must be equal or larger than the occupied space of the source.
The list below was created some time ago and has been updated. Now, there are so many choices, we might have to detail the features each product has to create a matrix.
- Ghost 9.0
- Ghost 8.0 / 32 bit running from Windows or BartPE - menu driven, console mode client program. Can fit on BartPE self booting CD.
- Ghost 8.0 running from DOS - menu driven, 2 floppy bootable.
- Image for Windows (can fit on BartPE self booting CD) and Image for DOS (self booting floppy)
- BootItNg (self booting CD or floppy)
- Acronis True Image See recent giveaway. Seagate (Discwizard)and Maxtor (MaxBlast) have outsourced limited edition, hardware locked versions of Acronis True Image. You can download and use these for free as long as you have one of these hard disks.
- Paragon Hard Disk Manager
- Nero BackITup
- Partition Saving
- Drive Snapshot
- DriveImage XML (free)
- CopyWipe self booting floppy (free)
A further list here
More Traditional Backup Programs
- Windows Backup (Windows XP Pro and Home) - How To here and ASR How To
- Novastor Novabackup
- Dantz Restrospect for Windows
- Cobian Backup
Moment in time programs
- Symantec LiveState Desktop Note: Free VMWare Player will allow you to run a snapshot in a virtual machine.
- Shadow User does not back-up. When enabled, all disk writes are directed. Disable to restore the machine to "as before"
Clever file and folder copy programs
- Second Copy 2000
- ShackUp (free)
- Zip Backup to CD (does DVDs as well)
- Backup4Win Kiwi program which has Firefox / Thunderbird profile backup features
- Vembu StoreGrid
- Microsoft SyncToy for Windows XP (free)
- SyncBack (free) and SyncBackSE
- Batch file with xcopy commands
Not every program can save to every destination
- Internal Hard Disk in removal tray
- External Hard Disk on USB / Firewire connection
- IPOD or MP3 player with hard disk
- Across a network to another PC
Taking heed of AB's comments, there's a change to the poll title and a clarification:
Some programs can only make a copy of the whole volume. Others are better used to make selective folder and file backup.
We do both whole volume backup (because it is comprehensive and takes a while, sometimes regarded as "scheduled downtime") and on a more regular basis, selective file and folder backup of our data - (which takes less time and the machine can possibly be in use on tasks which do not "step" on the data being backed up.) [url][/url]